Driving desert road trip in January 2014
Driving desert road trip is our first of 2014. We had lots of fun helping another group of people enjoy all the fun of desert driving. A great day was had by all.
Here’s some more information regarding our driving desert road trips.
Want to experience driving in the scenic desert and mountains in the UAE? Rent one of OffRoad-Zone’s fully kitted 4×4’s including Jeep Wranglers, Ford F150s or Toyota FJ Cruisers, into the desert and go off-roading in a small group. You will be provided with a pre-programmed GPS Navigation system that will lead you throughout the desert. You will be given a safety brief and tips and will always be accompanied by an experienced adventurer in case you need assistance. However, this is not a guided tour or a course.
Our bespoke 4x4s are lifted and modified for the desert and equipped all the necessary safety and recovery gear including GPS, walkie talkies, compressors, tow rope & shackles, shovel and first aid kits.
The experience is for 4 hours and will run from 9 am to 1 pm and from 2pm to 6 pm every Saturday. Private bookings can be made on weekdays (Sunday to Thursday) for groups of minimum 3 vehicles.
Price: AED 1,200 for the vehicle and all equipment. Maximum 4 persons per vehicle. Each additional driver is AED 200.
Join us on our monthly drivers where we explore different parts of the UAE. Anyone with a 4×4 can join- beginners or advanced drivers welcome. Priority is given to OffRoad-Zone customers, but there is always room for more. If you don’t have a 4×4 you can rent one from us; subject to availability.
Desert driving & survival tips
[toggles][toggle title=”What should I bring to an off-road adventure trip?”]
A Must: Your 4×4 in good running order with a full tank of petrol
Safety: GPS, tow rope & shackles, first aid kit, tyre gauge, spare tyre & jack, wooden board, charged mobile & charger, shovel, camera and sun block
Food: lots of water, snacks, sandwiches, your favourite meats and beverages
Other: chairs, mats, flashlight, fire wood & music[/toggle][toggle title=”What should I do before entering the desert & what should my tyre pressure be?”]
- Mark your entry point in your GPS so you know where to go if lost
- Deflate your tyres to below 15 psi – you can go as low as 8 psi, but you run the risk of your tyres coming off the wheel. Generally, 12 psi is very suitable
- Put your 4×4 in 4 high (4 low is not advisable for most 4x4s as it makes you dig in the sand)
- Turn off stability controls and airbags (if option exists and at your own risk)
- Never enter the desert alone, and make sure you inform a friend of where you are going and when you will be returning
[/toggle][toggle title=”Why should I turn off the airbags before driving in the desert?”]
Turning your air bags off has safety implications in case you get into an accident off-road. However, air bags, especially on the Toyota Land Cruiser 200 series, are sensitive. If you don’t turn them off, they might deploy while going quickly over a dune. This would ruin the whole trip as you can no longer drive, and it can be very expensive.
[/toggle][toggle title=”How and why do I turn off the stability controls in a Jeep Wrangler JK?”]
How: Put your vehicle in 4×4 high (or low) and press the “ESP OFF” button and hold it for 5-7 seconds until “ESP OFF” text pops out on your dash. You will hear a “ping” sound when this happens.
Why: If you don’t turn it off, while driving on sand, your vehicle’s computer will think your vehicle is sliding and will stop the power going to a spinning wheel. You will then lose power and may get stuck.
[/toggle][toggle title=”What are some basic tips regarding driving in the desert?”]
First tip is to take a course from OffRoad-Zone, or from others who may provide it. The best way to learn is to have a professional teach you. And practice makes perfect. Here are some basic tips:
- Start off slow, power will simply dig you in the sand
- Turn steering wheel side to side creating traction
- Don’t cross dunes if you don’t know what’s on other side. You may risk nose diving or hitting another vehicle
- Stay on trail to avoid damage to wildlife
- Look ahead: decide your next move just like playing chess
- Never stop flat – always stop uphill or downhill. This makes starting off much easier
- Leave room between vehicles if in convoy to allow the driver in front to reverse back if need be
- If getting stuck going uphill sideways, turn down and try again
- If getting stuck going uphill straight up, consider reversing and trying again
- If car is not moving, get out and assess
[/toggle][toggle title=”What do I do if my 4×4 is stuck?”]
OffRoad-Zone’s definition of stuck is: “when another vehicle is required to pull out your vehicle”. Follow these steps to avoid one of your mates having bragging rights for pulling you out. If your 4×4 is not moving:
- Release throttle immediately.
- Get out and assess situation (along with your adult passenger).
- Determine which tyre needs support or is hanging.
- Determine which way you should move. Normally, you should move in a downhill direction as it is very difficult for your vehicle to go uphill in sand. Be friends with gravity – use it to your advantage.
- Clear out tyres and body of 4×4 of sand and get your passenger to push (shedding extra weight from the 4×4 in the process).
- If the body of the 4×4 is sitting on the sand, you may need a tow (sorry).
[/toggle][toggle title=”What are some tips when travelling in a convoy?”]
- Turn headlights on so you know who is in your convoy.
- Leave 2-3 car lengths between each 4×4, but don’t fall behind. It is very important to keep up with the driver in front of you.
- If you don’t see a car behind you, flash the cars ahead to signal for them to slow down.
- Stay alert and make sure you have the phone numbers of the convoy leader and sweeper.
[/toggle][toggle title=”Any tips on how to tow someone out?”]
- Determine which way you should move.
- The towing vehicle should be moving downhill and should be moving in line with the vehicle being towed. Do not pull the vehicle sideways.
- Passengers should get out of vehicles.
- Clear out tyres and body of 4×4 of sand.
- Fasten the tow rope and shackle. Make sure the shackle’s flat side (where the bolt is) is facing the other vehicle. The bottom of the U should be on the frame of the vehicle and the bolt should be touching the rope! Why you ask? In case the pulling vehicle is stuck and the rope is tight. This way you can turn the bolt and unhook the rope (you may have to read this again)
- Only use heavy duty tow ropes and shackles and not the flimsy ones found at petrol stations.
- Give signals and start towing. Vehicle being towed should also be in gear and giving throttle.
- Stop when it is safe to do so.
If you already have a proper 4×4 and would like to join the group, you can rent our pre-programmed GPS Navigation system and safety equipment for only AED 400.
Those who wish to video record their adventure can rent a GoPro from us for AED 300 and will be able to keep the memory stick and take the memories home with them.