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Latest 4WD Trips & Techniques

View All: Trips | Techniques | Touring

Talking to friends in the northern hemisphere, some of them are really grateful they own 4wds right now. Having a proper off-roader lets them keep driving when lesser cars give up. Unfortunately even the toughest vehicle isn’t immune to snow and ice, and if you do a lot of winter driving you’re probably going to get a bit stuck sooner or later. If that happens, unless you know how to get yourself out again it’s going to be a frustrating – and even dangerous – process.

Recovering a stuck vehicle is hard work at the best of times, but if you get it wrong during the recovery – or sometimes if it just isn’t your lucky day – things can end up much worse than they already were. About the worst that can happen is that, in your efforts to recover your wagon, you end up rolling it over. That’s not just an inconvenience that makes recovery a lot harder; it can be extremely dangerous.

There are a lot of things that can contribute to a vehicle rolling over, but the biggie is simple

A trailer can be a real asset when you’re planning a longer trip, but if it wants to keep going when you stop your vehicle it quickly turns into a bit of a liability. A small trailer without too much mass will stop on its own pretty well, but larger ones need a braking system – and the law says that any trailer over 750kg must be fitted with brakes.

There are two main options for trailer braking systems. One is inertia brakes. These have a device – usually a pendulum – that senses when the tow vehicle is slowing down and applies the trailer’s brakes. Inertia brakes work well on roads, but they tend to glitch on rougher ground. If the trailer isn’t level the system can misinterpret the pendulum’s movements as deceleration, and put the brakes on when you don’t want them.