How to Drive Safely Off-Road in a Jeep

Many Jeep owners drive the iconic cars because of their celebrated off-road capabilities, which allow drivers to cut through mud, twist around, roll over rough terrain, and do it all safely.

Here are just a few tips that Jeep has published in its Off-Road Driving Guide that are meant to keep drivers and passengers safe:

To be prepared

When it comes to operating a larger machine, like a Jeep, understand that you are behind the wheel of something very heavy, powerful, and potentially deadly. Therefore, always treat Jeep with the respect that a vehicle of its size and power deserves. This means always understanding that routine maintenance and checks are a requirement for safe driving.

Before hitting the road, check the battery to make sure it is firmly in place, make sure all hoses are properly connected, always check oil and fluid levels, including gasoline for longer trips, and check pressure and tire holes.

How to handle mud

When driving in mud, it is generally a good idea to use the 4WD system so that you have maximum control over your car. Some Jeeps, like the Quadra-Trac I®, automatically adjust to muddy conditions. During the ride, make sure you’re in the right gear for the boost you choose, even if it means avoiding downshifting. Be aware of the effects of excessive spinning that can occur when you accelerate the engine.

In case you lose control of your car while driving through mud, move the steering wheel back and forth until the wheels gain traction on the terrain. Stop the vehicle if you cannot gain traction.

How to climb hills

The best and safest way to climb hills in your Jeep is to go up or down the incline, never side to side as the vehicle could roll. Apply more power at the base of the hill when moving up and less power at the top for optimal control of the car. When descending a hill, downshift, but keep the clutch engaged so your vehicle does not slip. Use the brakes to control your speed, but rely on the lower gears first.

Driving a Jeep is a hobby that many people enjoy. However, it can be very dangerous if done incorrectly. Always read all road precautions and familiarize yourself with the operation of your Jeep before hitting the trails. Safe practices will keep you coming back for more year after year.

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