Safety Guide to Beach Driving

Preparing your vehicle:

Salt and sand can cause damage to your vehicle if not properly removed. There are preventative measures you can take however. If you want to know more about driving through salt water, and why we advise you don’t, click here. For driving on sand however, you can prepare your vehicle with a coat of lanolin, especially sheep skin oil, which is readily available in spray form from Bunnings and Repco. Make sure you apply a coat a day or two prior to your trip to allow it to dry, and be sure to rinse off thoroughly after your trip to avoid rusting.

Lighten your load

An often overlooked step, be sure to remove any unnecessary fittings or cargo before driving onto sand. The lighter a vehicle is, the less likely it will get bogged.

Check your clearance

To avoid bottoming out when cresting even slight rises, you want to ensure the underside of your vehicle has at least 180mm clearance above the ground. Similarly, only ever go straight up and down dunes, never try to turn around or the sand will shift under your 4×4 and can potentially put you in a dangerous position.

Adjust your tyre pressure:

Before hitting the sand, be sure to lower your tyre pressure. Why? Lowering the pressure of your tyres extends the ‘footprint’ of your tyre, increasing surface area from front to back which achieves better traction and allows your vehicle to sit on top of the sand more evenly.

The psi to which you should deflate your car varies from vehicle to vehicle and tyre to tyre. Check out our blog 4WD Tyre Pressure Basics to find out more.

Enjoying the great outdoors with LandRaxx


Tools to pack

  • A long handled shovel to remove sand from under your vehicle’s tyres.
  • Knowledge of the tides at your intended location.
  • A tyre deflator and an air compressor for re-inflation.
  • Snatch Straps and traction boards in case you get bogged.

Watch the water

Beware of an incoming high tide. Check the tide charts prior to departure. Aim to start your journey on an outgoing high tide when the sand will be firm. This way you will have ample time to reach your destination before the next high tide. Always remember to stay clear of the edge of the water, it only takes one rogue wave to lift or roll a vehicle.

Driving Tips:

  • Engage 4WD before driving on sand.
  • Select low gears for soft, dry sand.
  • Avoid the water, hard sand is the safest spot to drive on.
  • Aim to drive in the ruts other cars have carved out.
  • Avoid doing tight turns on the beach. You will have sand build up in front of your tyres making you more prone to getting bogged. Keep your turns wide.
  • Don’t brake hard or you will dig your tyres into the sand.
  • Re-inflate your tyres for harder sand or surfaces.

Caring for others:

  • Stay alert for oncoming traffic—especially on corners.
  • Never drive off the track —use passing bays to let others pass.
  • Give way to traffic coming downhill.
  • Heavy vehicles and vehicles with trailers have right of way because they are more difficult to manoeuvre.
  • Show extra courtesy with inexperienced drivers.
  • Give way to pedestrians.

Caring for the environment:

  • Don’t park on sand dunes—it’s illegal, damages the dune plants and harms any birds nesting there.
  • Give way to wildlife.
  • Drive around (not through) flocks of birds. Don’t disturb them.

What to do if you get bogged in sand:

Traction is Key here.

Step 1: Stay calm. Have all passengers exit the vehicle and move to a safe space.

Step 2: try to gain traction slowly. Don’t accelerate too hard or you will build up sand and worsen the situation. In an automatic car, put your vehicle in the low gear and accelerate slowly to gain speed and traction. In a manual vehicle, put it in a higher gear and release the clutch slowly

Step 3: If the vehicle is still stuck you are lacking traction. This is where your shovel comes in handy to remove sand. If available, lay your traction boards, or whatever item you have handy (jacket, tree branches, carboard) in front of the tyres that are spinning. Try move forward until the tyres catch traction on the item and you can drive out.

Step 4: If you are still stuck, have passengers gently push the vehicle from behind to assist. Note however, that any items placed in front or under tyres may be flung backwards, so ensure they stand clear of the tyres. Repeat steps 3 & 4 until you are free from being bogged.

Take this information as a guide only and go awaken the explorer within.


With LandRaxx travel-ready accessories you’ll be fully equipped for your next adventure.