There’s no feeling quite like hitting the road and getting out of town for the weekend. Whether you are heading to the beach with the family or to the bush for a weekend of stargazing around the fire, you are in for a treat that breaks up the day-to-day of the work week and provides memories that last a lifetime.
Any extraordinary journey requires the right vehicle, but driving off-road without fully understanding how to approach different conditions can be intimidating and even dangerous. So here are some tips to help you get the most out of your journey and take on the world with confidence.
1. Feel the Sand Between Your.Tyres
As Robert Frost once opined, sometimes it’s taking the road less travelled that makes all the difference. But the trouble with roads less travelled is that they’re often also less paved, less comfortable, and sometimes covered in – or entirely made of – sand.
When driving in deep sand it’s important to maintain momentum and keep engine RPMs high. If you don’t, you run the risk of sinking. Sand mode on the Everest’s Terrain Management System helps avoid this in a few ways: upshifting later and downshifting earlier so the engine RPMs remain high; reducing traction control intervention to allow your wheels to keep spinning; and dramatically increasing the sensitivity of the throttle so that small foot movements elicit greater response. All this helps keep you moving smoothly through the dunes.
2. Tow, Tow, Tow Your Boat
What good is a boat parked in a driveway? Without pulling power, you’re stranded on land, and that’s no fun.
Before planning any trips with a heavy trailer, make sure you have a vehicle up for the job – and double check your owner’s manual to make sure your trailer is within the recommended towing limits. Also get to know any helpful tech your vehicle comes with. The new Ford Everest, for example, can tow up to 3,000kg and uses advanced Trailer Sway Control technology to give you control and confidence at any speed to help get you out of the driveway and into the water.
3. Get Muddy!
Spending a day sinking into the mud is an activity best left to the spas of the world. When heading through extreme terrain with deep mud, you want to avoid wheel slippage and keep momentum to avoid getting stuck. But mud and rocks shouldn’t be enough to stop you getting where you want to go.
On slippery surfaces it is vital to keep the vehicle under complete control to avoid breaking traction. Not only do the Everest’s Snow, Mud, and Grass mode dull throttle inputs, upshift earlier and downshift later to help keep the engine from revving too high, but it can also be used in conjunction with the Electronic Locking Rear Differential, which can lock the rear axle when necessary.
The Everest’s Torque on Demand system ensures torque is sent to the wheels that still have traction, so you can be confident you will keep moving forward, even in the slipperiest of situations.
4. Go Star Gazing
They say gazing into the night-time heavens is like locking eyes with the universe, and there are few better ways to end a day of tough off-roading after escaping the city.
The Everest’s panoramic moon roof, available in the Everest Limited model, covers the first and second rows, and provides a window to the stars. Covering an area larger than a 46-inch widescreen television, it’s the ultimate HD display.
5. Enjoy the Sounds of Nature
There’s nothing quite like the blare of a hooter, the rattling clatter of an ancient utility vehicle, or the clamour from a construction site to add another layer of frustration to the slog of a traffic jam.
Luckily, life isn’t all traffic jams. Though the Everest’s Active Noise Cancelling can make city driving quieter and more comfortable, once you’re out of the city remember to put your windows down and enjoy the sounds of nature. Whether that’s the swell of a mountaintop wind or the burbling of a river – while taking advantage of the Everest’s 800mm1 water wading capabilities- is entirely up to you.
6. Rock Out on the Rocks
Bumps in the road are often what makes a journey memorable… When it comes to literal bumps in the road – especially on challenging off-road terrain – it’s wise to know your vehicle’s dimensions, capabilities and most importantly, its ground clearance.
After your sure of these three elements, find an ace place to go rock crawling – it can be so much fun. If you’re in an Everest, you have a head start: 225mm of ground clearance will give you the confidence you need to tackle the toughest off-road environments with ease.