How To: Drive on the beach (and not get stuck)

Drive on the beach (and not get stuck)

Everyone loves the beach, but some like driving, too. The best thing is to only drive on the sands where it's legal. And you may need a permit to do beach driving. But driving on the beach is a hoot. Getting stuck in the sand – not so much. Keep moving forward with these tips.

Step 1: Go at low tide
Plan your drive within two hours, either way, of low tide.

Step 2: Rearrange cargo
Rearrange whatever you have in the car so that the weight is balanced.

Step 3: Reduce tire pressure
Increase stability by reducing your tire pressure. Measure with your tire gauge; the new pressure should be between 15 and 20 psi.

Step 4: Put your car in 4WD
Put your car in four-wheel drive. Make sure your tires are facing forward when you first take off on the sand.

Step 5: Stay on harder sand
Drive on areas where the sand is hardest —between the waterline and the high-tide mark. If there are tracks from other cars, drive in them.

Step 6: Drive slowly and carefully
Drive slowly — stay under 25 miles per hour. Maintain a steady speed and avoid sudden breaking. Make turns as wide as possible and only when you have some momentum.

Step 7: Steer clear of washouts
Steer clear of pools of water and washouts, or ditches in the sand created by the surf. You don't want to get stuck in salt water.

Step 8: Coast to a stop
When stopping, plan ahead so you can coast to a stop. Try to stop on a downward incline to make starting easier.

Step 9: Never accelerate if you're stuck
If you get stuck, don't floor the gas or you'll just dig yourself in further. Instead, try going in reverse. If that's possible, try to drive forward a bit before reversing again, and keep going back and forth so you can create some traction.

Step 10: Reinflate tires
When you're back on solid ground, re-inflate your tires to their proper pressure with the help of your tire gauge and an air pump.

Step 11: Wash off sand and salt
As soon as possible, wash the sand and salt off your car, especially from the undercarriage.

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