Driving on unpaved roads can have damaging effects on vehicles. It is also more challenging to drive on unpaved roads than regular roads. Following is a guide and tips on how to drive safely on these unpaved roads.
Be Prepared for the Journey
It is always a good practice to be prepared for an adventurous drive. If you have never traveled in the road before, you may want to prepare for directions. For example, you may want to check out the maps or have a GPS device ready before heading out. Check out your tires and the pressures beforehand, and fill up the gas if necessary, this includes the spare tires. You can bring along some water and food, and let someone know you are traveling in case if your mobile phone cannot be reached in certain areas.
Slow Down and Reduce Speed
When driving on gravel or unpaved roads, the surfaces are not smooth and can be rocky. You need to drive at speeds that can allow you to stop easily when you see hazards. Speed up slowly and be sure to use brakes, so that you can manage the difference in the terrains. Sometimes, animals may dash out onto the road during dawn or dusk, so be sure to drive cautiously during those times.
Watch Out for Curves and Dips
There are often curves and dips on unpaved roads that can impair your visibility, which prevent you from noticing hazards or incoming vehicles. When you are approaching any dips or curves, be sure to slow down and remain on the right side of the road to stay safe. Minimize distractions such as listening to loud music or having conversations, so that you can concentrate and focus on the road. Keep a lookout for oncoming traffic or engine sound. Drive slow or pull over whenever necessary; drive at speeds that can allow you to do so.
Give Yourself Some Space
It is a good practice to give yourself 6 seconds of space while driving behind other vehicles. It will take longer to stop on unpaved roads compared to driving on regular roads. If the weather condition is severe, you should increase this distance for safety. If there is too much dust obstructing your view or if there is debris flying, you should also leave some space for your own safety.
Skidding or Slipping off the Road
It can be difficult to brake while driving on unpaved roads. This can be prevented by driving at slower speed and control the vehicle in a constrained but smooth manner. The speed of the vehicle should be maintained at safe levels so that turns can be made gently. Should your vehicle starts to skid, ease off on the brake or the accelerator on a slippery surface and shift the transmission into neutral if possible. Steer in the direction you intend to go carefully without oversteering. When you regain control of your vehicle, brake smoothly and softly.
Caution and preparation can keep the safety of you and others on unpaved roads. Always check the condition of your vehicle and weather forecasts before heading out.