OFF-ROAD DRIVING TIPS FOR MUD AND SAND


2007 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon in sand.
All off-road driving terrain presents its own challenges to the driver. This is part of what makes off-roading so challenging and exciting. Becoming an experienced off-road driver requires knowing how to handle each of the challenges different terrain present. It is especially important to know how to drive successfully in mud and sand. Each of these elements present different types of challenges to the driver and knowing how to handle them will make you a better off-road driver.


When driving in sand and mud it is recommended that always maintain steady momentum to help safely propel vehicle. It is important that you choose a gear that is not too low for mud driving. Using too low of a gear in mud will only cause your tires to spin and you will just be wasting time. If your wheels begin to spin simply ease of the gas and let the tires get their traction again. If you’re driving in sand it is recommended to use a lower gear, especially early in the morning when sand is still firm.

If you are driving through the mud on a trail that has a lot of ruts, it is important that you always know which way your front wheels are pointing at all times. Keeping track of the location of your wheels will help you steer your vehicle and keep it from following ruts that may lead to a dangerous situation. Following established ruts in muddy terrain is a good way of knowing which way was successful for other drivers, but you also want to always be in control of your vehicle.
When driving on sand it is suggested that you follow the proper driving technique for the type of sand you are currently driving on. If you are on wet sand you want to be very careful. Wet sand may contain areas of floating sand or quicksand and these situations can become dangerous if you are not prepared for them.

If you are driving in a sandy area that features sand dunes, it is recommended that you do not attempt to drive over them. You should always go around them, you can’t be too sure of how stable and what dangers may be hidden under the sand.

Written by Andrew

"You're telling me it's got four wheels, two seats and goes faster than the speed limit? Good, I'm driving."

5 comments

  1. I’ve driven in mud several times but never in sand. I want to, I just don’t know of any near where I live in the midwest. I dream of heading to the ocean and driving along the beach. Will they even allow that? The closest desert is not where near either. I’m not aware of any parks in any of the neighboring states that offer this terrain either. Guess I’ll just be satisfied with mud and rocks, of those, we have plenty!

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  2. That looks like wicked fun and I so want to try it but, like Bruce, there is no sand in my area of the US. I guess I either take a trip out west or forget it. Problem is, a trip like that would take several days of travel time and I’ve only got 5 days of vacation a year. Maybe sometime in the future.

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  3. Went to a wedding out west this past weekend and one of my cousins is into off roading big time. We had to drive for about an hour but there is a terrific area full of sand and rocks. First time in sand and I loved it. He let me drive, but made me swear I wouldn’t tell because he doesn’t even let his wife drive his Jeep. I wasn’t going to take a vacation this year because I only have 2 weeks but I decided I can’t wait a whole year to get back into the sand! Way different than anything I’ve driven on before.

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  4. Sam, it is wicked fun. You got to get to the west side of the US where there is more rock and sand than you’ll know what to do with. Even snow, if you look in the right places. If you don’t have enough vacation time, switch jobs and take the time to make the trip before you go back to work. Fake an injury and get a doctor’s excuse to take a couple of weeks off. Take out a loan. Relocate! Whatever it takes, do it. You won’t be sorry.

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  5. Sand and mud are a great trip and one that every Jeepster needs to try. But, they need to know that it’s a whole lot different than hills and rocks. A lot of fun does not mean easy. Take is slow and get the feel of the terrain and build on your confidence. It make take a little longer but your Jeep will thank you for it.

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