Top 3 off-road mistakes that driver makes in the UAE
People assume driving off-road is a lot easier due to no rules and restrictions as compared to driving on the road. That may be true to a certain extent, but after a while it might get messy if certain rules aren’t followed. Off-road freedom is awesome, but you should always remember these three MAJOR off-road mistakes that every experienced and in-experienced off-road drivers come across in the UAE. By the way, all these 3 rules apply for desert, mountain, small drive - overnight drive, beach sand & sand dunes. So by remembering these 3 golden rules you will save yourself from 75% of the off-road threat that may spoil your enjoyment or cost you some expensive repairs. It's always good to read little bit more on how to drive off-road before you embark with your most capable 4x4 vehicle. If you are new to off-road then you should listen to people advice, see what others are doing and learn how to negotiate with various off-road obstacles.
Deflate, deflate and deflate:
No car in the world is capable of driving off-road without deflating. You might get away with few 100 meters without deflating, but eventually you will get stuck. Yes you need to deflate in sand and on rocks as well. For sand, ideal is to deflate to 15-18 PSI as per terrain difficulty and also as per the temperature (deflate more in summer, when sand is loose). Maximum you can deflate to 12 PSI (not lower) if you are in very challenging terrain like Liwa, Sweihan or Al Wagan sand dunes. For wadi's and rock crawling you need to deflate lesser up to 22-25 PSI as compare to sand. In wadi and rocks little deflation help in better traction by increasing the footprints while crawling and absorb LOT of shocks on loose gravel or rocky terrain, while driving.
Plan your stop:
About 90% of off-road stuck happen due to stopping in wrong places. Always choose the safe spot to stop, and stop slowly. People driving in sand dunes while climbing up and down the dune, get tempted to stop in amazing scenic spot, but when they start again they get stuck. Don't stop on uphill, sideways and on loose sand which will make it difficult for you to move the vehicle again. When in motion, use that momentum to choose the flat, hard spot (as much as possible) so that moving again is easy. Stopping hard with harsh brake will dig you in the sand and moving again will be even more difficult. In the inevitable situation if you brake hard, then go backwards few meter and gain momentum to drive further. Driving in sand is very simple physics that needs common sense more than an ego of being an owner of "most powerful car" and "most expensive car". Take it easy and be ready to go back little bit and start again if you are stuck in a difficult spot, try to find work-around than forcing your way in because mother nature is sometimes more stubborn than you are. For rock climbing, crawling and wadi passage plan your stop carefully so that you can start back safely and avoid any excessive wheel-spin or slippage of your vehicle. In rocks while negotiating with big boulder (stones) you need more of patience and external help than too much gas and distractions. External help means to have your friend or family person outside the car who can guide your exact tire movement (very slowly) and help you step on safe spot and pass through.
Don't panic when you are stuck:
The beauty of off-road driving is EVERYONE will get stuck, whether you are a super sales achiever, manager, leader, CEO or the VP. The idea is to stay calm and "DO NOT PANIC". Majority of off-road stuck are very minor and you can recover yourself in less than a minute if you are calm. If you panic and give too much acceleration it will dig you deep in sand and might dislocate your vehicle more in rocks. When vehicle is not moving, first attempt is to try reversing immediately and seeing what is blocking so that you can avoid it. If reverse is not possible, then step out and identify the situation, have few sips of water and you will get creative in thinking different ideas to get out. If you are stuck in wadi's and mountains, you can probably move few smaller rocks aside by hand and make your way or sometime you can place smaller rocks under your tire and use them as a stepping stone. In sand stuck, if vehicle is not moving engage your Lo-Gear (4WD lo-gear) and start with little aggressive acceleration up to 2500 RPM (ONLY) and that too in quick short intervals (no full gas for long stretch). See if it helps moving your vehicle few meters or even centimeters, then repeat the same in front and reverse several times and make little movable path and when you have a good stretch, then take off with more acceleration up to 5000 RPM (sometimes even full gas). Idea here is to avoid full gas in beginning as that will dig you down and once you have little movable path and vehicle is in motion for 5-10 meters and you give more or full acceleration, it will help you cross that climb, loose-sand or uneven spot more easily. If everything fails as per self-recovery, call for help and don't dig yourself deeper by too much excessive self-recovery, as that will make the situation worse for other car to pull you out.