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.
The 2017 Ford Driving Skills for Life tour kicked off this month, starting its 14th year helping new drivers improve their skills and learn safety techniques through expert instruction.
The tour started at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, on February 4th, and will continue throughout early spring on March 4th-5th in Arcadia, California, and April 22nd-23rd in Houston, Texas, as well as additional dates that haven’t been announced yet.
Ford Driving Skills for Life focuses on handling, recognizing hazards, speed and space management, and the dangers of driving while distracted or impaired. The program has existed since 2003 and has since provided free driving instruction to more than a million new drivers around the world.
Though many vehicles today come with safety technologies that automatically assist drivers, including Ford vehicles, the global manager of Driving Skills for Life says that driving safety is not just about “downloading the latest app” but about “real-world training and improved decision-making skills.”
The 2017 Ford Driving Skills for Life program has the usual Ford drugged and drunk driving suits that simulate how dangerous impaired and distracted driving is, but it also adds new virtual reality training tools for navigating through traffic circles, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
If you’re a newly licensed driver or the parent of a new driver and want to sign up for Driving Skills for Life, visit the website and see if there will be classes available in your area or register for the online Academy.