How to Drive on Sand and Cross Dunes Safely

There are currently a few users who dare to drive off the asphalt. Most vehicles that populate the roads are not too prepared for it. A good percentage of modern SUVs, although they have high bodywork, do not have all-wheel drive or the necessary equipment to face complex roads. Not to mention the legal restrictions to carry out this action in many provinces of our country.

If you think about driving in the sand, you have to take into account a series of considerations. To make a trip to the desert and to be able to cross the dunes like the competition vehicles is something highly recommended, but the user must prepare for it. Next, we are going to review some keys to be able to do it with total security and worry only to enjoy the moment.

Initial considerations

The first thing to consider is the vehicle that will use to drive on the sand. This terrain is more complex and tricky than other mountain roads. The sand, in general, has less consistency, and the vehicle can get stuck easily. Although it must also say that it is a changing medium since the temperature, humidity, or thickness of the grains are factors that will determine its firmness.

It is best to access it with a vehicle with all-wheel drive. In the case of vehicles with traction only to the front wheels, there will be a greater probability of being trapped when the adhesion losses begin. With the four × 4, we ensure that the torque reaches any of the axes and if it completed with a self-locking differential better than better.


The tires are of vital importance in any situation. They are those who are in direct contact with the ground and will greatly affect the driving. We have already talked long and hard about

it is important to well equipped with a series of tools. You never know what problem we can find. Therefore it is advisable to bring different materials that can get us out of trouble. The unblocking plates are a very useful tool, as they will help the car to get out if it gets stuck in the sand. Other tools that help with this element are the shovels.

And in the case of leaving the car trapped, slings and shackles can also be useful for another vehicle to pull ours. The winch can perform the same task manually or electrically, while an inflatable jack is helpful if there is no firm surface. If we return to the topic tires, an air compressor with a pressure gauge is always good to be able to swell them and put the ideal pressure reset. And that there is never a lack of fuel because in these areas there are not many gas stations.

sand dune driving

Driving tips

With a good car with all-wheel drive, suitable tires, and with lower pressure and the necessary tools, you could start driving in sand. Keep in mind that in desert areas, there are fewer visual references and that you have to be more careful. It is important to inspect the terrain that we step on, taking into account that the traction will be different if the road is changing.

In general, the most advisable thing would be to roll in short gears and with the high-speed motor, so that we can always obtain a quick and forceful response. Speed ​​is not the best ally of 4 × four driving, although we have seen professionals run like demons on the Dakar, you have to keep a cool head and know the limits of each one. And exercise caution if dunes come along the way.

Overcome a dune

Because in the desert, we can find these authentic sand walls, with inclinations of up to 60 degrees, which can complicate the route if they not appropriately approached. If at this point, it is rolling with the controls connected, it will be better to remove them so that the electronics do not block the wheels and prevent the ascent. The same principle of short gears (better in first and second) with a high and constant speed is applied.

Because the best way to approach a dune is to maintain the same speed, without there being many variations in the accelerator pressure, it is also important not to resort to the brake pedal during the climb, as it would run the risk of getting stuck. The dunes are always better to face them in front since if it did diagonally, you can tip over the vehicle. And with caution when you reach the crest because we do not know what is on the other side.

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