Driving Techniques

Climbing a hill

  • Approach path

If you are facing a steep or slippery hill, having an approach path to gain speed can reduce the loss of traction when driving uphill. If there is no room for an adequate approach path an alternate route can be used. An approach path however should be limited to surfaces with no potholes or other large irregularities When there is room on the surface, it is better to climb at a slow constant pace to reduce damage on the vehicle’s underbody.

  • Driving recommendations

1. Speed, distance and direction: Make an approach at an appropriate speed and from sucient distance. Climb the slope directly towards the crest.

2. Long slops: When climbing a long slope, keep a constant speed.

3. Operating the Clutch: (when the vehicle is equipped with a manual transmission): It is better to not switch gears when driving a manual transmission. However, if a gear shift is required, do it quickly and with little clutch use in order to avoid loss of momentum and traction.

4. Acceleration: When climbing a hill, use constant acceleration and ease o the pedal when reaching the crest to avoid damaging the vehicle underbody. If the tires loose traction due to an excessively slippery surface, slowly reduce the amount of acceleration to return traction to the wheels.

  • Recovery

If you completely loose forward momentum and begin to slip before reaching the top, use the engine and transmission to brake (only for manual transmission vehicles) to recover. Keep the vehicle pointed towards the upper portion of the hill and use your rear view mirrors to guide you along your descent. It is best to avoid braking in order to avoid wheel lockup. However, brake softly to keep the vehicle under control* when your vehicle has an automatic transmission since the engine will not be able to assist in slowing you down.

 

Driving down a Hill

  • Driving Tips

1. Gear selection and braking: Choose a low gear (or reduction gear in an automatic transmission) to take advantage of the engine’s braking capacity, reducing the use of the conventional brakes. When driving down a steep slope, it’s advisable to choose “L4” or “LL” to obtain maximum engine braking capacity. Depending on the vehicle’s transmission (automatic or manual) and the driving conditions, you may have to use the brake pedal.

2. Maintaining course: Drive down a hill perpendicular to the base. If tires loose traction, accelerating softly may return traction and steering control.

3. Long slopes: Vehicles tend to increase speed when going downhill continuously.

4. Clutch operation: When driving downhill, do not apply the clutch since this will eliminate the engine brake, causing a loss of traction and acceleration. This is one of the most dangerous things to do when driving downhill.

 

Holes or wading areas

  • Driving Tips

1. Approach angle and path: Approach crevasses and holes (ditches) at an angle which allows for maximum control. Direct approaches may result in impacting the front bumper or the skid plate against the edge of the hole. By approaching at an angle, the space to maneuver is increased. Approaching at an angle also makes the tires overcome the obstacle one by one, reducing stress on the chassis. It is important at this time for at least three of the four wheels to maintain traction. Make sure to use the vehicle in 4WD mode at all times with the center differential lock applied (if applicable) to drive in these conditions.

Warning: If you are approaching at an incorrect angle, both wheels may enter the ditch at the same time, which can cause you to become stuck. Drive with caution.

Approach the ditch at an angle and allow for the tires to enter one by one:

2. Driving speed and acceleration: Slowly let the tires enter the gap one at a time. Then, accelerate gently until the tire begins to exit the ditch and decelerate immediately after the tires pass the obstacle. Repeat this process with each of the four tires. On slippery surfaces, increase or decrease speed as deemed necessary.

3. Reduce depth or inclination: When the depth or the angle of an obstacle is too great, adjustments can be made by placing a rock or another object where the tire makes impact.
Have the tire make contact with the “wall” of the gap/ditch and then accelerate softly to make the tire overcome the “wall”. Decelerate immediately after the tire overcomes the “wall”.

 

Inclines

  • Driving Tips

1. Approach angle: Dierent procedures must be made depending on the circumstances. Regardless of the procedure chosen, make sure the driver’s side is facing the ascending incline (looking up towards the summit). This gives the driver a greater sense of security.

2. Driving speed and acceleration: Constant acceleration and driving speed is always best.

 

 

Mud

  • Driving Tips

1. Path: Drive only on shallow mud (the depth of the mud should never be above the lower portion of the center differential). Keep the wheels on the most solid terrain possible.

2. Gear selection: Choose a lower gear which you are able to control on muddy surface. If the vehicle is equipped with locking differentials, make sure they are locked.

3. Clutch operation: Maintain speed in such a way that you do not loose traction and not required to shift gears. Shifting may result in sudden deceleration and make the vehicle become stuck.

4. Steering operation: Turning the steering wheel on muddy terrain may increase the surface resistance. Try to keep the steering as straight as possible.

5. Adjusting tire pressure: On muddy surfaces, the mud may become stuck on the gaps between the tire tread (contact patch), reducing traction which make the vehicle easily become stuck. To avoid this from happening, reduce tire pressure to 1.2 kg/cm to 1.5 kg/cm (17 to 21 psi). This results in an increase in traction. If the mud is too wet, increasing tire pressure may result in an increase in traction, which will result in less mud getting stuck on the tires.

On muddy terrain, consider the use of tire chains.

 

Rivers

  • Driving Tips

1. Approach angle and path: Choose a path going downstream. Driving against the ow of water may make the vehicle become stuck. Also avoid water depth greater than the center of the wheels. In places where a river is owing slowly, you should be especially careful of mud and sand accumulations on the river bed. Water is usually deeper than it looks, which is why you should add between 20 to 30 cms to the appeared depth from the surface.

2. Gear selection and speed: L4 (part time) or LL (full time) is a good gear selection and constant acceleration will avoid water from entering the engine and exhaust. If water enters the air intake or electrical system this will cause water hammering/broken connecting rods* or a short circuit.

3. Steering operation: The ground beneath the water may not be visible due to mud or reection on the surface. These situations may cause the vehicle to become stuck in a gap on the river oor. To avoid accidents in these situations, your thumbs should never be on the inside portion of the steering wheel.

4. Choose where you will exit: Where you exit the river should be a solid surface will a small incline. Many vehicles become stuck when exiting a river.

Water hammering / broken connecting rods: if the amount of water which enters an engine’s combustion chamber exceeds its capacity, the appropriate engine combustion stops. This may cause the connecting rod to bend or break, as well as possibly damaging the piston.

 

Sand

  • Driving Tips

1. Traction and tire pressure: On sandy terrain the surface is usually soft with a high degree of resistance, similar to muddy terrain. This is why gaining traction on sand is dicult. To avoid becoming stuck, reduce your tire pressure. However, reducing pressure excessively may cause the tires to separate from the wheels, which will bring a whole new series of problems.

2. Gear selection: Considering the lack of traction, “L4” (LL) is a good choice. If your vehicle come equipped with locking differentials, use them.

3. Steering and clutch operation: Do not turn suddenly. Operating the clutch may cause the vehicle to become stuck. Therefore, use a gear which can take you the entire way without having to change it. If you must switch gears, do so quickly so as to not lose wheel torque. Automatic transmissions are recommended over a manual, since they don’t require clutch operation.

4. Stopping the vehicle: Applying the brakes will sink the vehicle into the sand. Therefore, let the vehicle roll to a stop, or better yet, stop the vehicle on a solid surface which will make starting o on a hill possible.

 

Rocky Surfaces

  • Driving Tips

1. Gear selection and speed: L4 (LL) is the appropriate transfer lever position for driving over steep rocky terrain. Drive at a moderate speed, since driving at higher speeds may shoot rocks from the ground to the undercarriage of the vehicle, which may result in vehicle damage. Also, the impact of driving over a ditch or hole may damage the tires, wheels and/or suspension.

2. Trail: For your safety, it is recommended you have a passenger in the front seat assisting the driver. Observe sharp rocks which may damage the wheel or puncture a tire. When driving over rocks, make sure these will not move out of place. If a rock moves from the tire to below the vehicle when driven under, it may lodge under the chassis or may cause a rollover.

3. Tire pressure: Lowering tire pressure is an option when more traction is required. However, higher tire pressure will be needed more often to minimize damages from the rocks to the tires and wheels.

4. Steering operation: When preparing for the possible steering kickback caused by rocky terrain, place your thumbs over the steering wheel. You must keep a firm grip at all times to avoid moving o-course from the originally selected path.

 

Snow

  • Driving Tips

Inspecting the terrain

1. Since dangerous objects may be below the visible slow, walk over the surface to test it before driving.

2. The maximum amount of slow you should drive over should just reach the lower portion of the differential. If the surface consists mainly of fresh, unpacked snow, the maximum height may reach the lower portion of the bumper. Anything deeper will require you to remove part of the snow from the path and then continue.

3. The quality of the snow will change it’s reaction to a vehicle. Vehicles may become more easily stuck in wet, icy snow patches.

4. Some vehicles will be more stable when driving in trails left by other vehicles.

 

Starting the vehicle

Releasing the clutch pedal quickly will result in a loss of traction. To start the vehicle, release the clutch slowly and gently. Also, select a higher gear. For automatic transmissions, simply release the brake pedal to set the vehicle in motion.

Driving speed

On a snowy or icy surface, drive at no more than half the recommended speed limit.

Steering operation

1. Use specially designed tires for driving on snow*. Having excesscondence when driving a 4x4 over snow may result in the vehicle getting stuck or having an accident. Once the vehicle loses traction there is no dierence between a 4x4 and a 4x2 vehicle.

*Snow tires: These are tires specically designed for driving in snowy or icy conditions. The main benet of this tire is the ability for it to remain elastic under cold conditions, which improves its traction. The tire’s tread is specically designed for smooth, comfortable driving over snowy and/or icy roads.

2. Making tight turns is dangerous. If the vehicle begins to skid, the vehicle will travel to either the lowest portion of the road or towards the tire which began slipping. Slowly press the accelerator (do not release it) and steer in the opposite direction to regain control.

3. When the vehicle begins to loose control while turning, drivers tend to over-compensate. Drivers must be aware of this trend, since the vehicle may suddenly regain traction and then begin to severely skid out of control.

Brake

1. Test the brakes to see if a wheel lockup is possible, but in a secure, open area. Knowing this limit allows the driver to make delicate maneuvers under high-pressure situations.

2. Vehicles equipped with snow tires or chains have less horizontal grip than conventional tires. Therefore, driving speed must be reduced before making a turn.

3. The roads immediately before an intersection or corner tend to be slippier than normal, since many vehicles have previously applied the brakes in these places before.

Uphill climbing

Begin your ascent observing the vehicles in front of you and try to not stop when climbing. If you are forced to stop and cannot restart, return to the base of the hill and start your climb from the beginning.

Downhill driving

Switching gears or a sudden deceleration when driving downhill should be avoided, otherwise the vehicle may lose traction. Select a low transmission gear and allow the engine to do the braking for you.

 

  • Tire Chains

1. There are metallic snow chains and non-metallic snow cables. Snow cables are lighter, and are easier to install and transport. On the other hand, metal snow chains are heavier and are more dicult to install, although they are more economical and are easier to repair should they become damaged.

2. Snow chains or cables should be installed as soon as snow begins to fall continuously. If other vehicles are driving with them, that is a good sign to install them. In the case of a 4x4, install the snow chains on the tires which are supporting the greatest amount of weight. For driving over deep snow or driving downhill, install the chains on the front tires. When driving uphill or over more compact snow, install them on the rear. If chains are installed on the front tires they may cause damage to the inner portion of the wheel, the axle or the brake lines. When installing chains on the rear tires, they may a ect steering performance, but allow for easier correction. If the vehicle becomes stuck, the chains may be removed and placed on the front tires to obtain more traction. Placing the chains on the front or rear wheels is a decision which should be made depending on the situation, but the rear tires are generally the norm.

 

  • Additional advice for cold weather driving

Snow accumulation on the vehicle

When driving, snow attached to the fenders may a ect steering, and visibility may be reduced by snow on the head lamps. Correct these possible issues by occasionally checking the vehicle.

Try to not bring snow into the vehicle

Be careful not to bring snow into the vehicle’s interior through your shoes and clothing, since it may make the pedals slippery or icy and may even freeze the pedals when the vehicle is parked.

Parking

1. Avoid parking in areas with strong winds snow, or where a large snowfall may occur if possible.

2. When parking for extended periods of time, take the time to clean all the snow o of the vehicle before driving again.

3. A way to assure the vehicle’s battery is maintained is by disconnecting it from the vehicle. When in extremely cold conditions, removing the battery altogether and storing it in a warmer location is also an eective measure. Changing the vehicle’s orientation when parked or putting cardboard or towels over the vehicle’s hood are not eective measures.

4. To avoid the vehicle’s brake pedal from freezing, park the vehicle without using the parking brake. Leave the vehicle in gear, either in rst gear or in reverse.

5. To avoid the windshield wipers from freezing to the glass, raise the wiper arms, avoiding the blades from touching the windshield.

6. To avoid the door locks from freezing, lubricate the lock with a non-corrosive grease or oil where you insert the key.

Door freezing

If you attempt to force the door open after it has frozen, you may damage the door and/or frame’s rubber seal. Apply heat with moderately warm water and wait for the door to unfreeze.

Fuel selection

Fuel will freeze below 10° Fahrenheit (-12° Celsius), blocking the fuel line. Leave some space in your fuel tank before arriving at your destination, which will allow you to rell the tank with anti/freezing fuel if it is available.

Battery fluid

When the battery does not have sucient uid, stored electricity will drain more rapidly and starting in cold weather becomes more dicult.

Amount of radiator fluid and antifreeze

Avoid freezing of the cooling system by using LLC Antifreeze liquid.

Windshield washer fluid

Driving in snowy conditions uses more windshield washing uid than usual. Make sure the reservoir is full.

Starting the vehicle

When a vehicle has been parked for an extended period of time, the radiator uid may freeze slightly, even when antifreeze is used. If the vehicle is started before the frozen liquid thaws, the little liquid remaining in the radiator may boil and rupture a hose. Allow the engine to heat up before moving the vehicle. Wait until warm air comes out of the air conditioning system or the temperature gauge begins to move.