While it looks easy, the reality of driving on sand can often be very different.
While it looks easy, the reality of driving on sand can often be very different.

Life's a beach...but driving on soft sand needs skill

LAST month I spent some time on Fraser Island - it's a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and indulge in my favourite pastime of trying to shake sand out of everything I own for hours on end.

One of the most exciting things to do on Fraser Island is jump in a 4WD and go off-roading, and while it looks easy, the reality of driving on sand can often be very different.

One of the ladies who volunteered to drive in our tour group almost rolled the vehicle due to oversteering, a lack of experience on soft sand and a liberal sprinkling of panic.

And she's not alone.

RACQ LifeFlight Rescue has already carried out two missions on Fraser Island this year. One young woman was injured after a 4WD rolled on the beach, and another couple in their 50s suffered spinal injuries during a similar incident.

Lower your tyre pressure if the conditions dictate, but never lower than 20 PSI as this can increase the risk of roll-overs.
Lower your tyre pressure if the conditions dictate, but never lower than 20 PSI as this can increase the risk of roll-overs. Kristy Muir

If you're planning an off-road trip, there are a few things you can do to ensure you and your passengers stay safe.

Make sure your vehicle is 4WD capable and that you've packed appropriate recovery equipment. Familiarise yourself with its safe and proper use in case you get bogged. Lower your tyre pressure if the conditions dictate, but never lower than 20 PSI as this can increase the risk of roll-overs.

Finally, if you're beach driving, keep left and approach washouts, sand humps and other hazards with care, to avoid damage or loss of control.

That way the only thing you'll need to worry about on your 4WD adventure is keeping the sand on the beach and out of your sandwiches.


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