During your time as a licensed driver you’ll cruise across all sorts of terrain, but one of the most tricky surfaces to navigate is sand. That’s right, we’re talking about the beach!
There are coastal locations from California to Florida that allow people to drive right out onto the beach and claim their stake on the sand. A drivers ed course will teach you how to safely drive down the road, but you won’t be tested on beach driving. No worries – Aceable has you covered! The tips below can help you stay safe and avoid beach driving sandtraps.
Beach Driving Tip #1 – Check the Regulations Before Heading Out
For safety reasons, some beaches restrict when vehicles are allowed out on the sand. It could be restricted to a certain time of year, days of the week or hours in a day. There could also be limitations as far as which areas of the beach you can drive on or a permit may be required.
Beach Driving Tip #2 – Find Yourself a Vehicle With 4-Wheel Drive
Driving through a sandy situation is a lot easier when you can put power to all four wheels. You can drive just about any car over hard packed sand, but the soft stuff can pose a big problem for vehicles without four-wheel drive.
Beach Driving Tip #3 – Pack Lightly
It’s best to lighten your load as much as possible before your beach excursion. The heavier your vehicle is the more it will sink in the sand. You’ll also have better clearance if the vehicle is lighter.
Beach Driving Tip #4 – Reduce the Tire Pressure
Once you get to the beach let a little air out of the tires. Reduced tire pressure will provide more traction and make it easier to safely maneuver across sand. Aim to get the pressure between 15 and 20 PSI in each tire. Just don’t forget to re-inflate your tires before hitting the pavement.
Beach Driving Tip #5 – Check the Tides
The best time to drive on the beach is within two hours of low tide. This gives you more beach to drive across and minimizes the chance of the tide quickly moving in where you parked. You can find tide times in your local newspaper or at NOAA.gov.
Beach Driving Tip #6 – Stay Close to the Water
The area between the water and the high tide line is where the sand is pack in the hardest. Stick to this strip of sand and you’re less likely to get stuck. Another trick is to follow the tire marks from other vehicles.
Beach Driving Tip #7 – Drive Slow and Avoid Hard Braking
Obeying the speed limit is a must no matter what road you’re on, but at the beach there probably won’t be a sign posted. The general rule is to keep your speed under 25 miles per hour. Driving at a slower speed is safer all around and reduces your chance of getting stuck in the sand. It’s also important to avoid hard braking and coast to a stop whenever possible.
Beach Driving Tip #8 – Give Your Vehicle a Good Wash Afterward
If you’ve ever lived in a beach town, then you probably already know salty air and sand have a way of creating rust on vehicles. Keep you car from becoming a rust bucket by giving it a good wash immediately after your beach trip.