Basic Driving Do’s and Dont’s

  • Seat belt must be worn AT ALL TIMES BY THE DRIVER AND THE PASSENGERS (front and back)
  • Equipment is likely to get thrown around. It should be securely fastened in position by the use of a cargo net or luggage straps. Lids on cool boxes should be taped or strapped.
  • Do not leave unsecured items on the dashboard. They present a potential risk for distraction and injury when thrown around!
  • Camels, sheep, goats, and pedestrians all present a hazard when driving off-road. Be continually aware of them.
  • NEVER assume you’re the only vehicle driving on a track in a remote part of the desert. There is always a good chance of another vehicle on the other side of the dune. So observe the basic rules of the road and keep to the right of the track – especially when approaching blind brows.
  • Do not overload your Jeep with people and equipment which could place a strain on essential working parts (e.g suspension and tyres). It will also slow you down and you may be unable to drive fast enough to tackle the difficult parts of soft sand.
  • Children should either be in Car Seats or have a seatbelt on, under no circumstances should children be on passengers’ laps, if a Marshal observes this then the Driver will be asked to either secure the child properly or be asked to leave the drive.
  • If you’re out on a long trip take a jerry can with petrol and plenty of water.

Driving Hints

  • Keep your thumbs out of the inside edge of your steering wheel. Most Jeepers Editions have large wheels and tyres, which if you hit a hidden dip in the sand, camel grass or tree stump this could very quickly pull the steering wheel out of your hands. Don’t take the chance to let it take your thumbs with it! It is very painful and really spoils your fun!
  • In soft conditions, choose a gear and stay in it. The momentum loss when changing gear is phenomenal, especially in sand. If you think you aren’t going to make it through the obstacle, stop before the Jeep stops you, then reverse, pick another gear or another line of attack and try again.
  • When ascending or descending slopes, keep the wheels straight and choose the most vertical route. Never try to cross diagonally.
  • ALWAYS keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you, as vehicles often stop very suddenly on such trips. 30-50 meters is considered a sensible distance between Jeeps.
  • Before ascending or descending the steeper slopes, make sure the Jeep in front of yours is well clear.
  • Keep right of established tracks, particularly when approaching the brow of a hill. These are public roads driven at great speed.
  • With a passenger watching the Jeep ahead, you can get an early warning of dangerous conditions or obstacles.
  • When stopping on sand stop on either flat ground or on a downward slope to prevent getting stuck when setting off again.
  • Engine revs and tyre noises are useful aids when desert driving, loud music will obscure these tell-tale sounds.
  • DO NOT under any circumstances use your mobile phone while driving, this can be a distraction, and loss of concentration can cause a serious accidents.
  • Air-conditioning can use up much of the available engine power so if you really don’t need it don’t use it.
  • Always stay enough behind to avoid the dust and shingle thrown up by the Jeep in front, apart from the discomfort, dust dangerously reduces visibility. Dust clouds can be seen from a long way off and you can catch up easily again later.
  • Windscreens are often cracked by flying stones – so keep your distance on gravel stretches.

Driving in Convoy

  • The first rule of driving in a convoy is that each driver is responsible for the Jeep behind. This ensures that the convoy travels at the speed of the slowest Jeep, and everyone returns to civilisation together. If you can’t see the Jeep behind you, stop immediately and inform the Marshall ahead via the Radio.
  • The second rule is to leave sufficient space between you and the Jeep ahead. If you can’t always see the Jeep in front of you as they may be hidden by the landscape and dunes – don’t worry.
  • It can be useful to watch how the driver in front of you handles tricky situations, such as soft sand, ridges, bowls, and dunes, before you follow them.
  • Don’t attempt to negotiate tricky parts of your route before the Jeep ahead of you has cleared. If they fail and you are in hot pursuit, both Jeeps can come to an abrupt stop and get stuck.
  • Maintain your position in the convoy and follow the route of the Jeep in front. Do not overtake or wander off on your own, remember it is not a race.
  • In the event of a Jeep getting stuck, hold your position in the convoy unless you are asked for assistance by a Marshall. Do not wander off or play around the area. You may hamper the recovery or get stuck yourself.
  • If you think the driver behind you can’t see your Jeep when clear of a dune, notify the Jeep behind you via radio.
  • Stop if you’re not confident! Let your Marshal/Leader know allowing assistance/coaching be given or a less difficult route to be chosen. There is no shame in not being able to do something, but it may be dangerous doing anything you’re not confident with.
  • When offroad leave your EGO at home, the fact the Jeep in front of you has done something it doesn’t always mean you can so drive within your limit and the Jeep.

Tyre Pressure

  • “Floating” is a term used by off-roaders to describe the concept of the vehicle floating on the surface of the sand. The nature and consistency of the sand will change on a seasonal basis depending on the amount of rainfall, moisture from morning fog or humidity levels.
  • It is a simple but true fact that the lower the pressure the better the traction in soft sand. However, there is always the danger if you reduce the pressure too much; the tyre may come off the rims (pop-out) in certain circumstances.
  • During summer, the sand will be at its driest, offering the minimum amount of traction. Therefore tyre pressures have to be at the lower end of the scale. During the winter month, tyre pressure can be increased slightly.
  • Don’t forget that the handling of your Jeep will be totally different when driving at these low pressures. It will roll more when cornering, and steering response will be vague and slow, the braking will also be affected.
  • Reduction of tyre pressure to between (8-10 psi) is generally recommended and is depending on the Jeep and wheel/tire combination this increases the surface area of the tyre that is in contact with the sand and spreads the weight of the Jeep, providing added traction in soft conditions.
  • You will generally find that after you have deflated especially in the summer your tyre pressures will increase so it’s advisable to check tyre pressures after 30 minutes and reduce if necessary.
  • If in doubt ask your Marshal/Leader.


4WD High Range

Most of your off road driving will be done in this range. The torque of the engine is distributed between all wheels, front and rear.

4WD Low Range

When driving in challenging terrain you may engage in low range. Also, use the low range when stuck or bogged down. This allows for controlled and steady movement. Be aware that engine revs are much higher and movement/progress is slow.

Diff Lock (if fitted)

Power from the engine is normally distributed through a number (three) of differentials (gearboxes) to all four wheels. These differentials are located in the front axle, the rear axle, and on the drive shaft between the two axles (transfer gearbox).

This means that if one or more of the wheels get stuck, the differential transfers the power to the freewheels, causing them to spin aimlessly, doing nothing to get the car unstuck.

Engaging the diff-lock forces the wheel to move at the same speed. This cuts down on spinning and allows the wheels with the best traction to pull you out of trouble.

Drive in 4WD using normal gears (high range) and always check ahead to avoid large boulders or holes that can cause damage to your vehicle. Know your ground clearance and negotiate your way accordingly.

If you have a diff-lock, engage it to get through tricky bits. Engage low range for rocky, challenging spots and steep ups and downs. Your progress is much smoother and more controlled. For a steep downhill, you should let the engine do the braking, and for a very steep uphill, the low range gives you the increased traction and power to reach the top. When driving in low range, you don’t need to use first gear – you can pull away in second or even third.

The key to driving on sand is maintaining controlled momentum by using higher than normal revs (engine rpm) Make sure you are in 4WD and stick to lower gears (not low range yet), usually one gear lower than you would drive on road. Try not to over or under accelerate when tackling soft sand.

Going up a Dune


  • Select the route of least resistance – get out of the Jeep and have a look if necessary.
  • Give yourself a good run up and the momentum will carry you to the top, but remember – not too much, not too little.
  • Stick to lower gears to keep your revs high.
  • If you start losing traction move your steering wheel quickly from side to side to help the wheels find extra traction as you tackle a slope.
  • Allow your “buddy” vehicle to safely negotiate the slope before trying it yourself.
  • Make sure that no one is driving up the opposite side of the same dune.


  • Drive diagonally across the slope, especially in very soft sand (this predicament sometimes arises as a result of doing a U-turn). If this happens, make sure you keep your momentum going to stop the Jeep from rolling! – If you are going too slowly, gravity will win and pull the Jeep over whichever way is down. Make sure you have just enough forward motion to fight it.
  • Tailgate another vehicle while going up.

Going Down a Dune


  • Stay in a low gear
  • Let the engine do the braking
  • Point the Jeep straight down the dune (not at an angle)
  • If the runout is smooth, accelerate slightly as you exit the bottom of the dune to gain momentum for the next climb


  • Brake sharply – this may cause the Jeep to slur, roll, or even flip over!
  • Do not deviate from your straight line, however scary the descent!
  • Close your eyes – this is slightly unnerving for your passengers!

Stopping Safely

  • Always stop at an angle that allows you to move on, preferably forward. It the sand is hard, you can stop on level ground. If not, stop on a downward slope.
  • Small dunes – stop at the top of the dune, just over the top, to evaluate your route. The Jeep following you should stop on the top of the dune behind you.
  • Larger dunes – stop towards the bottom of the dune on the downward slope, with enough space to pick up momentum before tackling the next dune. The Jeeps following you can either stop behind or next to you, depending on the space. If you stop on the ridge of a large dune, you risk getting stuck with no wheels touching the sand. Always try to stop just after you clear the ridge and are on the downward slope.
  • Never brake abruptly, as you will force the tyres into the sand. Before you stop completely, release the brakes and roll gently to a halt.
  • Keep your eyes peeled for those little dry bushes and never park over one! – your engine will be hot after driving and the risk of starting a bonfire under your Jeep is enormous.

Getting Unstuck

  • When you get stuck (and for sure you will) don’t slam your foot hard on the accelerator and hope that this will move the Jeep – it will only sink you deeper into the sand.
  • Remove any sand or obstacles that have built up around the front, back or sides of the wheels.
  • Unload any excess weight, starting with your passengers and even your baggage if you are well and truly stuck (don’t forget to pick up your passengers and baggage once you are free).
  • Check your tire pressure and, if necessary reduce it. This may give you the extra traction you need to get you moving. It is not unusual during the hot months for tyre pressure to increase by 4-6 psi in a little over an hour’s driving due to the heat of the sand.
  • Switch off the air conditioning to direct 100% of the available power to the wheels.
  • Change to low gear (low range) if the situation requires it (and use second gear), or engage the diff-lock if you have it.
  • Wiggle the steering wheel from side to side as you begin to move – this sometimes gives that crucial bit of extra traction.
  • Inch forwards and backward, slowly clearing an area to give you a better chance of picking up momentum.
  • Release the clutch slowly (if your Jeep is not automatic), ensuring minimum wheel spin. Never let your wheels spin too much – you will only sink further and once you are buried up to your axles in the sand, it is pretty much certain that only a “rescue team” can get you out.
  • If all this fails then radio your Leader/Marshal