Crossing of the rivers by 4×4 SUV Tips

in Off Road Driving


How not to drive over water tourists

8 Off Road Driving Tips: How to cross the river

There are people to whom a river crossing with 4×4 SUV is like a bungee jumping from the bridge of Gauja in Sigulda – you know that it is possible to accomplish, but you are not quite sure how. And the most interesting part is that unlike regular motor vehicles, off road vehicles are designed so that they could get across water obstacles. And the “water line” (usually around 50 cm) that is fixed by the factory, is one of the parameters that define the suitability of the car to the off road driving.

It is hard to describe the feelings that you have when you cross the river for the first time. But the most interesting part starts when you cannot cross the water obstacle and your car stops in the middle of the river. To keep such an adventure trip in memory for a longer period, you should choose appropriate month for such “experiments”, for example December or February.

The variety of thoughts and feelings that cross your mind at the moment you see the saloon of your car filling up with water is inexpressible! Look, a half empty bottle of lemonade has swum out from under the seats together with your road map that you dropped accidentally. Your bags are already under water level. Oh yes, your buttocks also are getting wet and the rubber boots that you’re wearing is full of “nice and refreshing” river water – that’s how a real off road driving feels like! And when you open the doors and see the shore that is “so far”, you get the feeling that you’re not in Latvia anymore – there are no such wide and wild rivers in our country!

After the stream has carried you for several tens of metres downstream and you finally reach the shore, you understand that if with a looks like that you go to the nearest farmstead (if, of course, there is one) for help, you would rather get a dog biting in you leg than a tractor that could help to get the car out of river…

Off Road Driving Tips: How to cross the river

Now let’s move to some advices of how to cross the river. There is a popular joke among off road driving enthusiasts that the main thing about river crossing is not to drive over the water tourists. It is of course important, but the following suggestions are as well essential:

1. At first walk along the unknown ford – that’s the only way to estimate the depth of the water, the hardness of the ground and to detect whether there are on are not any underwater obstacles (rocks, wooden logs etc.).

2. Pay attention to the place of entry and exit – these places can sometimes be harder to overcome than the ford itself.

3. You can go without any fear till the depth determined by the manufacture. If the depth of the ford reaches 70 cm and more, pay attention to air inlet flap – don’t let the water in there. Is is not recommended to exceed the depth determined by the manufacture if you have no experience. With the car that is prepared for off road driving it is possible to cross the fords of up to 1 meter in depth.

4. Be sure to use the all-wheel drive when crossing the ford, and lock the inter-axial differential, if you have one.

5. Drive slowly in the water (first or second reduction gear) and cross the ford by making a wave in the front of your car. If the water goes over the engine bonnet or splashes into the windshield – you are driving too fast. If the wave in front of the car doesn’t forms, you drive too slowly.

6. Don’t shift the gears when you cross the ford – only the gas pedal is at your disposal.

7. Turn off the lights before driving into water. Check if there is no water in the lamps after you drive out.

8. When you return from such off road driving and river crossing adventures, check the oil in the axles and in the boxes – water could be there as well.

I can say from my own experience that after first successful attempts you have a feeling, which is no doubt misleading, that there is no such thing as invincible ford. But then again some other time when you “fill up” you car with water (I don’t know anything that is more unpleasant than sitting on wet seats) your ability to evaluate the options of the car and you own skills returns.

And finally, river crossing is an exciting adventure that I recommend for everyone to enjoy at least one in lifetime.

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