Tips For Driving On Dirt Roads
Driving on dirt roads can lead to vehicle damage if you’re not cautious. Not only do dirt roads create some dangerous driving situations, but the unpredictability of the road surface can also flatten a tire or break an axle. In this blog we’ll explore some tips for navigating dirt roads, so you can protect your vehicle and increase your driving safety.
Before You Start
If you know beforehand that you need to take an outback road, do a quick check of your tyre pressures. If your air pressure is low, your tyres will be more prone to blowout, leaving you stranded. Low tyre pressure can also affect the efficiency of your steering wheel, which can put you in more danger on already less safe roads.
Also, check the weather before you go. If you can possibly avoid driving in the rain or on wet dirt or gravel roads, do so. Water can increase the likelihood of dips, potholes, and flooding. Mud buildup can cause your vehicle to get stuck.
Avoid High Speeds
Unpaved roads have poorer traction than tar roads. By reducing your speed, you can improve vehicle handling. An excess of confidence and uncertain road conditions is a bad combination. You don’t want to end up losing control and getting your car stuck on the side of the road.
Driving slowly will also protect yourself and any oncoming vehicle from potential accidents. Driving too quickly on unpaved roads can cause you to skid across the middle of the road and into another driver’s path. Respect the road and be careful.
Increase Following Distance
You should always leave a respectful distance between yourself and other cars. However, this becomes even more important on dirt roads. Even with excellent reaction time, your stopping distance will be increased by tyre skid on loose, unpaved roads.
Watch Out For Hazards
Keep your eyes open for hazardous conditions that can affect your driving or occlude your vision. Even with an all-wheel drive, you should be cautious. Here is a list of some common hazards on dirt roads:
- A cloud of dust created by other road users
- Road washouts
- Deep rutted tyre tracks
- Fallen trees or rocks (especially on less-used roads)
- Corrugated road (washboarding)
Navigate Turns Carefully
On dirt or gravel roads, your vehicle can skid easily when you take a quick turn. Keep driving speeds slow in general, but also be extra cautious when you approach turns. You don’t want to drift or spin out.
Dirt roads aren’t always the best roads to navigate, but they are often inevitable. By understanding how to handle unpaved roads, you can ensure a smoother ride even on the bumpiest road surface.
At LTrent Driving, safe driving is our passion. We offer conventional driving lessons, as well as Open Road courses, Safer Drivers Course, and Aged Assessment. Contact Australia’s #1 Driving School any time for more info.