2. All-wheel driving practice at Offroadpark Bayern
Over the next few months, we want to be out in our camper van again as much as we possibly can. Finding the best places to camp often involves a bit of off-roading. Given everything that’s going on with the pandemic, we’ve used this time to get to grips with off-road driving. For example, we took a course at Offroadpark Bayern, an ATV recreation park in Bavaria.
On a sunny Sunday, three vehicles with five drivers gather and hang on the jovial and very competent Andi’s every word. What did he say? Here’s a brief summary for you:
Safety: Be aware of other off-roaders. Keep an eye on everything happening outside around you. The driver going uphill has right of way, otherwise right has priority over left.
First learn how to drive uphill, steer as little and as calmly as possible, map out the line you want to take, drive slowly in first gear (this applies to both manual and automatic vehicles).
Get out of the vehicle beforehand, examine the track, read (understand) the terrain. If in doubt, get your passenger to get out and lead the way, giving you signals.
When driving over deep ruts, always keep both hands on the steering wheel, with your thumbs on the outside. Keep the camper on high ground if possible. If you have to cross the ruts, always approach them in a straight line, never side-on. Don’t use the clutch, don’t change gear.
Driving on a side slope: By instinct. It’s better not to have a lateral tilt of more than 20 degrees.
Steep hill climbs: Don’t approach on a tilt. Instead, have an angle of attack of 90 degrees at a constant, moderate speed. Build up enough momentum and come off the gas before the crest (but not too early).
Practice recovering your vehicle: Practice using traction aids, jacks, and recovery boards in case of emergency.
Instructor Andi explains key off-road driving information to the enthusiasts.