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Driving in the desert is an enjoyable experience but as with all other hobbies and activities, there is a learning curve that all new drivers go through – a curve that will see you get stuck on numerous occasions and learn the best way out.
In the fifth installment of Ford’s Desert Driving Tips series, the experts share their knowledge and insist that adopting a ‘prevention is better than cure’ approach to driving is the best way to avoid getting yourself into a sticky situation.
“The best way to avoid getting stuck is to be aware of what’s going on and constantly thinking ahead,” said Mike Chavez series co-host and Ford Middle East Product Development Lead Technologist. “The main thing is to not fight gravity. There is no point fighting it. Fighting the desert is like fighting in water. So, go with the flow.
A common mistake many new drivers make is that they continue to force their vehicle to fight gravity and depress the accelerator pedal deeper and deeper, essentially digging their car to a point of no return. When drivers feel their vehicle is struggling to make through a certain path, they should try a different line, perhaps where the sand is firmer, and turn down from a large dune to avoid getting stuck.
If your vehicle is struggling to move forward up a dune, applying more power is rarely the right thing to do. Your tires will overcome the available grip, spin and quickly dig your vehicle deeper into the sand. Keep it up, and you’ll find yourself with a vehicle buried belly-deep on a dune and in need of some assistance.
If you don’t have enough forward momentum to make it over a dune, then get the nose of the vehicle turned downhill. If that’s not an option, then get off the power, stop, make sure the way is clear behind and reverse straight back down the dune. That way, you can either take a second bite at it, or find another, easier way around it.