Top Reasons Why You Should Enrol in 4WD Driver Training
Think you are ready to drive off-road? Hone your skills in a 4WD Driver Training course.
(SPONSORED) No driver knows instinctively how to drive off-road and, given how dangerous driving off-road can be if you get something wrong, it’s important you get some basic skills. Enrolling in a 4WD course will help give you the preparation and practice needed to explore our Big Brown Land; you’ll also learn a whole lot about your 4WD, and with a capable off-road vehicle like the Ford Everest 4WD there’s a lot to learn.
But I know how to drive on the road…
The thing about driving off-road is that many of the techniques we use on the road, or on the race track, are totally useless. For example, on road cars you would have been taught and encouraged to use the brakes to slow down your vehicle rather than the gears. But, when you’re driving off-road, using lower gears and engine braking is a much safer and more effective way of keeping your vehicle’s speed under control.
Sports car drivers are taught to grip the wheel at opposite spokes, 9-and-3, fix their hands, and sit as low as possible. Sure, when you’re driving off-road you use the same 9-and-3 grip, but will push-pull the steering wheel at low speeds, and sit as high as possible for better visibility, particularly the edges of the bonnet. Of course, there are more… like dropping tyre pressures when you’re driving on sand to keep your 4WD floating across the top rather than sinking in.
4WDs are complex vehicles…
A vehicle like the Ford Everest 4WD has an incredible amount of capability built-in (thanks to the Terrain Management System, which offers different settings for driving on mud, sand and rocks), but without experience it can be hard to know what all the functions do and why you need to use them. More than that, what’s high- and low-range and when should you use one or the other… And then there’s traction control and stability control, maybe adjustable suspension, limited-slip differentials or locking differentials, and the list goes on, depending on your vehicle of choice
A good 4WD course will allow you to explore all that your vehicle can do in a controlled and safe environment with instructors on hand to provide advice and reassurance.
How can driver training help?
Driving a 4WD isn’t just a case of getting in and pointing it at a rough track and pressing the accelerator expecting the vehicle to get you through; there is just as much pressure on the driver and their capability as there is on the vehicle and its capability in the rough.
There are all sorts of different training schools around, so look for one that’s got a good reputation; you can usually do this online via forums. Or, the club associated with your vehicle make and model might be able to suggest a good course, sometimes clubs even run their own training courses.
Don’t just pick the first one you come across online. You want a course run by experienced instructors that focuses on your needs, whether you need training for work or because you want to tow a caravan behind your 4WD and you’ve never towed off-road before.
What should I do before I go to a training course?
Make sure your vehicle is clean and tidy so that the instructor can sit in it comfortably and make sure it’s been serviced recently and that your tyres are in good order to ensure there will be no mechanical issues on the day.
Enrol in the right course…
You will have researched the training company and course you’ve enrolled in before you booked. And, so, if you’ve got specific questions or you’re planning a particular off-road adventure then communicate this to the instructors so that they can make sure you receive the right information.
Really work hard on the obstacles
A 4WD training programme usually involves learning to drive across several types of obstacles. Make sure you spend as much time as you can in each driving scenario, learning how your 4WD feels and how it responds at any given time depending on the surface you’re on.
A good course will allow you several attempts at the same section of track so you can compare different techniques and vehicle configurations, for example third gear up a hill rather than second, crossing a ditch at a 10-degree angle and then a 40-degree angle, engaging the rear locker or leaving it out.
Make sure you have a good time
You’ve enrolled in a course to learn how to get the most out of your 4WD and to make you a better, safer driver. Driving off-road is fun, so, make sure you have a good time learning what you and your 4WD can do.