Archives for posts with tag: driving

This is pretty nutty. I’ve gone some crazy places but I’ve never driven through a mine. The poster writes that the action takes place on the Gold Rush Trail in British Columbia.

It seems super dangerous. It’s an amazing video though, if you don’t mind the music.

Left-foot braking means applying the brake with the left foot while your right foot is on the gas and the car is moving forward. It’s one of the most important skills I’ve learned. It makes progress over rocks and obstacles much smoother by reducing suspension movement as tires come off of obstacles. Chassis impacts with said rocks and obstacles are thereby also reduced.

Imagine a tire going over a rock. Even pressure on the throttle makes for a smooth climb to the top of the rock. Even pressure on the brake makes for a smooth descent down the other side. Gas and brake at the same time covers all of your bases, as some tires may be climbing while others descend.

There’s a second benefit. In a vehicle with open front and rear differentials (most 4x4s) getting into a crossed-axle situation (in which one wheel on each axle has lost traction) will halt forward movement. Squeezing the brake while keeping your foot on the gas can reduce wheel spin in the lost-traction wheels and transfer torque to the wheels with grip. In my experience though, this doesn’t work if the truck is up against big obstacles. That said, if you happen to get cross axled on a rutted but flat road, it’s a good trick to have up your sleeve.

This video does a good job of explaining both scenarios. If you haven’t already, practice left-foot braking the next time you’re out on the trail. Your smoothness over obstacles will be like night and day. Once I learned, I wondered how I ever got by without it.

4x4-driving

I recently added Four-by-four driving to my book collection. If you’re not already familiar with previous editions, they’re classics in 4×4 circles. The newly revised 3rd. edition was released this year.

The book starts by defining the basics 4×4 systems in plain, conversational language: differentials, the basic types of 4-wheel-drive systems, and then goes into detail describing the different systems used by 12 different manufacturers—including (in this edition) makers of “soft roaders,” i.e., Freelanders, Rav4s and the like. This is extremely handy for slicing through marketing jargon. What does Quadra Track or 4-matic really mean? This book tells you.

The book then goes into off-road driving techniques for various types of terrain, addresses recovery, advanced techniques, expedition basics, and finishes with how to load a truck.

It’s informative, well-photographed and well-illustrated. My only criticism is that sections of the book, and page numbers, are both numbered in a decimal format (i.e., 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 for chapter 1; 2.1, 2.2 for chapter 2 and so on) and Section 7.2 isn’t on page 7.2, for example, which can get confusing because the book frequently references other parts of the text. Was that Section 7.2 or page 7.2?

That said, it looks like quite a good “do it all” book, explaining both how our rigs work and how to use them. New copies are available solely through Desert Winds Publishing.

Links:
4×4 Driving from Desert Winds Publishing
Jonathan Hanson’s full review of the 2nd. edition, on Overland Tech & Travel

It’s still amazing to me that we went off-roading on the moon. Here’s some stabilized footage from the Apollo 16 mission.

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Winter’s on the way. To help you get ready, here’s a video showing some snow recoveries by the Search and Rescue Unit in Pierce County, Washington. One involves raising the truck with a Hi-Lift to pack snow under the tires. In the other a Hummer gets winched out of the snow. Read the rest of this entry »

Here’s another video from South-African 4×4 expert, Andrew St. Pierre White, showing how to drive in sand, especially in deep tracks.

Thanks thanks for the tip, Greg!

This fantastic Land Cruiser promotional video from the early 1980s, called Getting Through, demonstrates various driving skills filmed throughout Australia. It features footage from sandy beaches to snowy mountain tops and covers the following:

Rocky terrain
River crossings
Beach and dune driving
Winch anchoring
Snow driving

The tips and techniques (many of which were new to me), and animated illustrations are excellent. The vintage TV-detective-show soundtrack and mustaches are hilarious.

Very informative, very entertaining, and highly recommended.

Part 2 is below. Read the rest of this entry »

If you’re interested in brushing up on your off-road driving skills, you might enjoy these 80s-era Land Rover shorts based on the Camel Trophy Training regimen. These videos give a good overview of techniques for a wide variety of terrains and situations. If nothing else, it’s fun to watch old Defenders and Range Rover Classics doing their thing.

A brief rundown and additional video links to follow… Read the rest of this entry »


Last month I went to the Overland Rally in Hollister, CA, a weekend of classes, camping, and overland community, where travel, vehicle prep, driving, and navigation were all on topic. For example…

On international travel: if you’re traveling through a town and you don’t see any women or children, something is wrong. That said, the world is a pretty safe place and trouble is usually highly localized and easily avoided.

On vehicle prep: the most important change you can make on a vehicle is tires. Select ones that are suited to the environment in which you’ll be driving. For example, mud terrain tires work in mud but not on asphalt and snow.

On navigation: if you end up lost, stop. Figure out where you are (by plotting your GPS coordinates on a map or using a compass to triangulate your position from known points); make a plan; and proceed by dead reckoning (traveling a certain distance, on a known heading, from a known position) or by plotting GPS coordinates every few miles. Precision is the key. An error of a few millimeters on the map can translate into a few thousand feet on the trail. When following your compass, don’t forget to account for magnetic deviation (the difference between magnetic north and true north). Read the rest of this entry »