Driving on loose sand is one of the hardest terrains for 4×4 vehicles because it’s so easy to sink into the sand if you don’t do it right. Beach sand is easy—it’s wet and beaten down by hundreds of feet every day. Desert sand is more difficult, but it’s doable if you follow these easy tips for driving on sand.
First of all, you need to put your car in low gear and let some air out of your tires. The lower pressure increases the amount of tire that touches the sand, letting it glide over the sand instead of digging into it.
Somewhere between 12 and 15 psi is good—it’s obviously much too low to drive on pavement, but the softness of the sand means your wheels aren’t going to hit solid ground and bend, so there’s nothing to worry about. But don’t forget to re-inflate them when you get back to solid ground!
It’s also much harder to turn on sand, so don’t take curves too quickly, and make it wide if you can so you can turn gradually. If you start to get stuck, straighten out and get some momentum back before you try to turn again.
If your tires start spinning and sinking into the sand, try to ease backwards and give yourself some kind of traction if you can, like a floor mat or chain. If you’re near fresh water, wetting the sand can help, but don’t use your drinking water!
Remember, it’s safest to do this in a 4WD vehicle. Front-wheel drive is a big no and rear-wheel drive is only a little better.