Do it right!
‘Off Road Driving’ is a very complex topic with a lot of potentially dangerous situations, due to its nature of being ‘off-road’! You are in the wilderness with all related great experiences and unforgettable moments … but you must watch out!
- The right car: proper 4×4, well inspected and maintained before you venture out
- The right equipment: shovel, heavy duty towing ropes (or winch), tire compressor, proper car jack, wooden base board to place your car jack, well maintained spare tire, etc.!
- Right insurance cover (especially when you want to go to Oman)
- Check the weather forecast before you go out (sandstorm are not fun…) and avoid the hot season
- NEVER ever go out alone: you must always be more than one car – to be on the safe side, never ever go out with less than 3 cars! Cars can get stuck or experience technical failures and often other cars get stuck in rescuing efforts – hence at least 1 car must not participate in those in order to be able to get help.
- Driving skills: learn in easy terrain, join a special driving course or join an off-road driving club, join friends and other experienced drivers.
- Experienced leader: you must have an experienced leader with you!
- Plan your tour: use the internet, off-road guides, off-road club information and inform others that you will ‘go out’ (…just in case!)
- Essential equipment: Water, water, water (!) … it’s the desert or the rugged mountains, and you will not find water! Mobile phone (ideally even a satellite phone), First Aid kit, sun shade, sun block, proper clothing and hats/caps, proper firm shoes (no flip-flops), GPS/navigation system and/or proper maps, flags on long flexible sticks (so you are visible in dunes), walkie-talkies (so the leader can communicate with the group), torch lights, etc.
- Secure your load: many go out to camp and will carry lots of equipment – fix it properly since dune bashing and climbing over rocks can throw your load throughout the car and can injure passengers.
- Driving: the experienced leader goes first and selects a route suitable for the group. Allow ample of distance between the cars. Deflate your tires as appropriate – this will help you a lot in soft sand – but avoid abrupt steering, since this could result in the tire coming off the rim. Wait often for the group to catch up. Use the special flags on long flexible sticks in dunes so you see where the other cars are. Use walkie-talkies in difficult terrain. Avoid driving in the dark. Watch out for rocks, wood and animals. Protect the vegetation!
- Have fun end enjoy – experiencing the desert and the mountains is certainly one of the most wonderful things you can do in the UAE!