Country driving is a skill of its own. Any teenager with a license can drive on the highways and paved streets. It takes a special kind of good ol’ boy to drive on the backcountry roads. A different breed drives on the dirt roads out in the sticks, and they have a different skill set. If you really want to learn how to drive and know what your truck can do, drive on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. Before you go exploring, read these tips for driving on dirt roads.
If you want to damage your truck or roll it in the ditch, then speed down a dirt road; otherwise, slow down. Dirt roads aren’t just dirt—they usually have plenty of rocks, gravel, sticks, and holes in them. A dirt road is quite the obstacle course, really. Going slow saves your suspension from catastrophic damage and keeps you in control of the vehicle.
Drive in the Middle
Highways around major cities have as many as six lanes going in one direction. Country roads have exactly one, and it’s barely wide enough for two cats to pass each other. Drive in the middle of the dirt road so that you have plenty of room on both sides of your car. When there is oncoming traffic, slide over so that you can both pass; then, get back in the middle.
Don’t Jerk the Wheel
Dirt and gravel roads are notoriously slippery. Not in the sense of icy or snowy conditions, but you’ll experience decreased traction. The tires don’t grab as well on this kind of surface, so your traction is diminished. Jerking the wheel will send you into a spin, power slide, or into the ditch. Any changes in direction should be smooth and controlled.
Scan Far Ahead
Here’s a bit of Driver’s Ed 101 coming at you—scan the road ahead of you for everything. You’ll see all kinds of things on a dirt road you won’t see in town. Tractors, large and wild animals, craters in the road, and boulders are just a few of the hazards. This is the most important tip for driving on a dirt road, so pay attention. There is no telling what is going to pop up out in God’s Country, so look forward and not at your phone.
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