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What Do You Do When Your 4x4 Begins to Slide?

What Do You Do When Your 4x4 Begins to Slide?

Roger Bobrock |

Depending on where and when you go off-roading, the terrain can change dramatically in a matter of moments. If, and when, you find yourself on slippery terrain, you’re probably going to slide from time-to-time. Sliding can be a nerve-wracking experience if you don’t know how to respond. Luckily, there is a way to handle the slide and get yourself back in control.

There are a few different types of slides you can experience when offroading, including uphill, downhill, and driving on a side slope. Below is a brief explanation from your friends at GearAmerica on how to control each type of slide you’ll encounter.

Uphill Slides

When driving uphill on slippery ground, there’s a chance that your vehicle can start slipping backward even though your tires are rotating forwards. If, after a few moments, your vehicle doesn’t re-establish traction, follow these steps:

  • Press the brake and clutch together to temporarily lock the wheels
  • Shift into reverse 
  • Release the clutch and brake
  • Don't hit the gas, and let the engine bring you back to the bottom of the hill in reverse where you can try again

Downhill Slides

Downhill slides can be significantly more alarming than uphill ones, but whatever you do, don’t slam on the brakes. Instead, take your foot off the gas and allow the engine braking to bring you down the hill while steering to avoid any obstacles.

Side Slope Slides

If you’re driving at an angle on a side slope, do so slowly using light throttle and low gear. Follow these steps if you start to slide:

  • Avoid hitting the brakes or the clutch – it will lock the wheels or disengage the drive
  • Steer downward to get the heavy end of your vehicle facing down the slope. If you have difficulty doing so, try engaging the throttle lightly to assist in the turn
  • Once you're facing downhill, avoid the brakes as well as the throttle and allow you engine braking to bring you down the hill gently

Mastering the ability to control the slide can, and will, take practice (unless you’re Steve McQueen). Eventually, though, you’ll learn to respond to different road conditions with calmness and aplomb.

We founded the GearAmerica brand to align with our core beliefs and to advocate a lifestyle of freedom, adventure, camaraderie, and respect for nature as well as machinery. At GearAmerica we donate 10% of every purchase of our lifetime-guaranteed Off-Road Recovery Gear to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital as we believe that no child should ever be without hope.