August, time for holidays and often for the beach: a few days ago news circulated on social media reporting the events of a carabinieri car that was covered up. Is driving on the beach really that complicated? Let’s find out together.
Driving on the sand: a fund to know
When it comes to driving on the sand, many people imagine the lifeguard races of the historic series Baywatch, with the protagonists driving large off-road vehicles and very performing pick-ups, suitable for driving on mud and other soft ground.
In the most common situations that may concern the need to drive on the sand, on the other hand, you must pay close attention: the first of the precautions to be taken to be able to move with tranquility, brake and avoid getting bogged down, is to evaluate in advance the consistency of the surface. In fact, the sand is hard as asphalt in some places, while in many others it is very fine.
Driving on sand is seen by many as one of the most exciting natural realities for those who love challenges on four wheels, and above all those who drive an off-road vehicle will certainly have dreamed of experiencing the thrill of venturing into one of the incredible expanses of the Sahara.
Precisely because of this fascination for danger there are also car competitions that take place on the Saharan tracks, such as the well-known Dakar. But now let’s find out the tricks to adopt.
Driving on the sand: the dangers
As we said, to drive on sand you need a passion for challenges, but it is always good to be prepared: how?
Some skills are needed, in addition to the right means of transport: as we have said, the consistency of the sand plays a great importance, because the functioning (or the silting up) of the vehicle depends on it.
Experienced pilots evaluate the consistency of the sand based on its appearance: if it appears shiny, it is a solid stretch with marked granules, it represents the best track to tackle even for larger vehicles.
Furthermore, between a sandy expanse and a dune there can also be dangerous slope problems, and the consistency of the sand is then higher on the bumps, thanks to the constant modeling and cleaning action performed by the wind.
On the contrary, the sandy basins are dangerous, and you will risk being trapped in the soft sand, especially if uphill: here is the risk of the vehicle silting up.
Driving on the sand: the tricks
How to fix it? In this case you can try to engage reverse gear to retry an ascent with a greater run-up: in the worst case, the only solution is to work with platforms, a jack, a shovel and special sand plates. Here the wheels of the vehicle will be placed after being released.
As you will have seen in the films, in the stretches with strong gradients the pace must be maintained sustained : this allows the off-road vehicle to move forward without the wheels making excessive effort.
As on all surfaces with poor grip, it is a good idea to avoid sudden acceleration or sudden braking, maintaining an optimal and constant speed, respectful of the characteristics of the car.
Attention: among the most “difficult” passages there is the start , especially if stationary: in this case the reduced gears will be useful (if not indispensable), even in second or third gear, avoiding slipping the wheels or the clutch . Another tip is to stop the vehicle when going downhill, so that its weight gives the impetus to restart.
And the curves? In these situations it is essential to tackle them with a wide trajectory, since tight curves are dangerous and risk slowing the vehicle, up to blocking it.
One last tip: as you may have guessed, the most important thing to drive smoothly on sand is traction . To help you, you can decrease the tire pressure from that indicated.