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Tips For Off Roading In The Rain

Nothing beats spending a day out on the trails pitting your rig against formidable obstacles and that’s why we at Dixie 4 Wheel Drive love organizing our trail ride events. We not only want to ride with other avid off-roaders but also give upcoming ones a chance to build their expertise and confidence in the outdoors. Signing up for one of our Southern Utah trail rides arms you with knowledge of your equipment and capabilities of your off-road vehicle.

Nowhere does this experience and expertise matter more than when off-roading in the rain.

Going off-road has enough hazards. Throw in inclement weather and the trails can quickly get lethal. Even dry trails like those found at Sand Hollow State Park can quickly become a hazardous mess when the rain comes down. You’ll find yourself dealing with impaired visibility coupled with minimized traction and your driving skills will be put to the test.

Here are some tips to help you cope with off-roading in wet weather:

  • Ensure your 4X4 vehicle is in good condition.

If you find yourself off-roading during the rainy season, ensure your vehicle is up for the task. Make sure your wipers (both front and back) work correctly, your brakes are sound and your tires are in good shape. Check that your tires aren’t bald as the treads will increase traction and help channel water away to avoid hydroplaning.

  • Drive slow and steady on wet trails.

Remember to “Always drive as slowly as possible and as fast as necessary”. Above all, never speed in mud as the slippery surface increases your chances of losing control, skidding and hitting a tree or another vehicle.

  • Air down your tires for better grip.

Traction is the name of the game when driving in rain. Letting out some air from your tires increases the surface area allowing the treads more contact with the ground. This is especially important in mud or wet sand.

  • Always switch on your headlights.

Visibility lessens when it rains so keeping your headlights on will help you see a little further ahead to sport any obstacles well in advance. It also helps other vehicles on the trail to see you.

  • Avoid deep puddles and moving water if you can.

It’s better to avoid puddles and crossing moving water, especially if you don’t know the depth and you can’t see the ground. If you have to do it, get out and try gauge the depth for yourself. Fast moving water can sweep your vehicle away while deep water can get into the engine or damage your vehicle’s electrical control system.

  • Check your brakes after going through a water hazard.

Test your brakes after successfully going through a water hazard because they may be saturated. To dry them out, carefully drive very slowly while braking very lightly until you’re sure they’re holding on all tires.

  • Know when to stop off roading in the rain.

This applies to crossing deep water, going over mud puddles and driving in a downpour. Always drive within your abilities and if things get really bad, find a spot to park and wait until the rain stops.

 

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