Dealing with ascents and descents in a 4×4
Establish your line before tackling an ascent or descent on a slope. Gradient and traction are critical here.
Tackle the slope head-on to keep the vehicle level. If you go diagonally, your vehicle’s centre of gravity comes into play. With a lack of traction the vehicle could slide or roll over.
- Check the terrain to establish your approach using your spotter, if it is smooth and not too steep, use gentle momentum.
- If it is rutted, potholed and rocky a low gear and less momentum should do the trick.
- Avoid bounce especially with independent suspension: this will cause a loss of traction.
- Be cautious when using 1st gear low-range on smoother surfaces as you may get wheel spin.
- Avoid gear changes and the momentary loss of traction.
- As you approach the crest, decelerate to avoid wheel spin and bounce.
- Check your line using your spotter.
- Select the lowest gear to ensure a controlled descent. Avoid using the brake or clutch.
- Disengage the handbrake and release the clutch. Use engine braking/compression in a descent for control.
- If you start to run away, cadence brake to slow you down without sliding.
- Do not use your brake in a slide as this worsens the slide, rather accelerate to bring the vehicle under control.
- Do not change gears as the loss of grip coupled with forward momentum, could be disastrous.