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The Manual: Rough Road Driving

Don’t get stuck in the mud. Learn to evaluate road hazards, overcome obstacles, and navigate the unpaved passages between your front door and your next adventure.
rough_road_driving_445x278Illustration by: Supercorn

ASSESS CAR AND ROAD
>> Know your vehicle.
Drive in a range of conditions so you’re familiar with your car’s capabilities. Measure the clearance (most standard vehicles have five to six inches) between the ground and the lowest point on the undercarriage. An experienced driver in a four-wheel-drive (4WD) can expect to tackle boulders and uneven surfaces. An all-wheel-drive (AWD) can maneuver over smaller rocks (within a few inches of its clearance height). Two-wheel drives should stick to maintained dirt or gravel.
>> Scout road conditions.
Call rangers and ask about seasonal challenges like thick mud or stream crossings, specific hazards or impasse zones, and possible turnaround points.

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