In this blog by our chief 4x4 instructor Bernie, he covers some important points on how to safely navigate your 4x4 through a water crossing without getting your feet wet!
Water Crossing General:
- When crossing water we take off our seat belts as to allow us to escape the vehicle should the vehicle be rolled over in water if you are hanging on the seat belt upside down it will lock in place and you will not have enough strength in your fingers to undo it
- We also open a window for every person in the vehicle to allow for an escape route should the car be upside down in water
- You will not be able to open your door underwater due to the pressure difference
Still Standing Water:
- You have to check the depth of the water, so take your shoes off and put on your flip flops as you want a sole under your feet to protect them
- Take a stick and walk the course of your right wheel, use the stick to check to the left that there are no protruding rocks or objects
- Walk all the way through, do not turn around half way, if there is a deep hole and you drive into it you can damage your vehicle
- Walk back on the route your left wheel will follow, again check to the left if you did not miss anything on the first pass
- If you find a rock or something in the water you need to avoid, mark it with your stick and find a way around safely
-Remember to always take into consideration the wading depth of your vehicle, this is how deep it can go into water before it drowns! Each vehicle has a different wading depth so check your owners handbook for yours. If in doubt knee high is deep enough.
- Take off your flip flops, put on your shoes and get into the car
- We will cross the water in second gear low range 4wd, as to damper the torque of first gear
- We roll into the water and put the power on when both sets of wheels are in the water, we want about a jogging pace going through the water
- When we enter the water we are going to be pushing a bow wave, we want to keep up with it
- If water is splashing onto your bonnet you are going too fast, if the bow wave is getting ahead of you you are going too slow
- We keep our speed and power till we are out of the water
- As far as posible try to avoid rivers and streams, but sometimes we have no other choice
- For crossing flowing water we follow all the same rules as for crossing still standing water
- We always cross water at 90 degrees, don’t drive upstream as the flow can push the vehicle back, we don’t go down stream as the water can push up the exhaust and into the motor and cause damage
- If you walk across the river and it feels like the current is going to wash you away, do not take your vehicle into the river
- Built into all humans is a tendency to steer with the current, so when crossing rivers we look at a point on the opposite side of the river as out reference point and we drive towards that point.
If you would like to further your knowledge on your 4x4 and what its able to do why not sign up for one of our 4x4 training courses for a fun filled day of learning. See: www.saadventure.co.za for all the info and booking details!