Driving over gravel roads in a 4×4
Many 4×4 accidents happen here due to poor driving resulting in costly insurance claims or injuries. Corrugations on gravel roads are formed by vehicles that regularly use the road, when driving, find a comfortable speed.
- Watch your front wheel for a moment, you may feel comfortable but your wheels and suspension are really working and not always in contact with the ground.
- Due to the varying surface, braking capacity is diminished.
- Steering precision is also affected.
- On gravel, extra traction is required, use 4WD or AWD.
- Dangers areas are along the verges where sand accumulates as well as drop offs, if you go around a corner and your front or rear wheels leave the stable surface and slide – you could roll your vehicle.
- Be careful of erosion ruts along the sides of gravel roads, dropping a wheel into a rut could have serious consequences.
- Speed, hard braking and aggressive steering should always be avoided.
- Avoid driving on gravel roads at night.
- In poor visibility, put your headlights on and slow down.
- Avoid moving to the right side of the road as there may be oncoming traffic.
- Keep a safe following distance when in convoy or when vehicles are in front of you. Flying stones could damage your vehicle.
- Be aware of the surface at all time, many gravel roads have marble like stones which reduce traction.
- If travelling for long periods on gravel you can reduce tyre pressure (10% of road pressure).