I’ve recently had an few interesting experiences driving on farm races in the rain, which have made me think about slippery races and safety moving around on farm. Vets often get grief for getting their vehicles stuck so I though I’d read up on winter driving, then to share some tips for the mud to come…
Tips for driving in mud
- Inspect areas you aren’t familiar with – for depth, obstacles, or anything that could snag on your vehicle and cause damage.
- Use tracks left behind; either stick to them if you have plenty of ground clearance, or straddle them to avoid getting stuck.
- Have a contingency plan – take a shovel.
- Lowering your tyre pressures to 22-28psi will give your tyres a better chance of gaining purchase in mud if it has a soft base.
- Use the appropriate gear.
- If you have rear diff lock, engage prior to entering the mud.
- Once in the mud, try to keep revs up and avoid gear changes in manual-transmission vehicles; as soon as you disengage the clutch your vehicle will be sucked down into the mud and you’ll become stuck.
- If you get stuck in the mud, try to reverse out of your predicament. Chances are you’re stuck because mud has built up in front of your tyres, so if you can back up a few metres you can then have another go at driving forwards, this time with a little more momentum.
- If you get to the point where you can no longer move in either direction, it’s probably because too much mud has built up under your vehicle. At this point, you’ll need to forget about keeping your clothes (ok, overalls…) clean and start clearing under your vehicle with a shovel.
- Lastly, while you might wear the mud on your vehicle like a badge of honour, you should clean it off as soon as possible. Mud can work its way between tyres and rims, which can result in tyre deflation. It can build up on your vehicle’s wheels and put them out of balance, and work its way past oil seals. Its’ abrasive nature can wreak havoc on components such as wheel bearings, CV joints and clutches.