4X4 / Off-road




Understanding your vehicle in an off road situation

This course is for a delegate who has recently acquired a 4x4 vehicle and wishes to learn how to drive it in an off-raod situation. Driving off-road is skill that is developed through experience and understanding your environment and the capabilities of your vehicle. One encounters different terrains when driving off-road such as sand, stone, water and

gravel. Understanding how to adapt to these different terrains is an art and should be attempted with slow speeds and constant attention. With this course we will teach to driver how to adjust to his changing environment and be constantly aware of whats below and and around his vehicle.


The delgate needs be over the age of 18 years and also be in possession of a valid drivers licence.

All training is to be done on the clients vehicle.
With all the different makes and types of 4x4 vehicles we unfortunately cannot supply a "generic" 4x4 vehicle to do the training. All these vehicles have their own characteristics and settings when doing a 4x4 route. For this reason we require that the delegate supply their own vehicle for the 4x4 course. Our instructor will however be travelling in his own vehicle.

Max of 2 candidates per vehicle.


To make a booking please contact us on:
Tel: 021 931 8214
Email us at: info@heandshe.co.za
Alternatively click here to contact us directly through our website.
Please note that no prices will be displayed on the website except for specials as prices tend to change frequently due to fluctuating petrol price and inflation.
All prices quoted are only valid for 30 days.

Course Content


Driving your vehicle (4x4) in an off-road situation

4x4 Driving is defensive driving. It is about the awareness of the condition, capabilities and limitations of the driver and the vehicle.
As a 4x4 operator, you must take every reasonable precaution over and above your legal obligations to avoid traffic mishaps on and off the road.
Many 4x4 operators have damaged their vehicles, injured the operational/safety procedures that are applicable to this type of driving.
Good safety practices not only protect the people around you – they are your own best protection.


The circumference of the tyre is reduced resulting in a shorter travel and revs for a shorter length of travel resulting in more fuel being used.
Undersized tyres will mean shorter travel at certain given engine revs, meaning more fuel consumed.
Rolling distance increased tremendously with under inflated tyres, resulting in excessive fuel used to maintain or increase road speed.
Rolling resistance is increased resulting in premature tyre wear.


In a conventional four-wheel drive vehicle, the power is transferred to the driving wheels, front and rear, by way of the same components.
The transfer gearbox is connected to the gearbox and allows the power to be transmitted from the engine, through the gearbox, and by means of a propeller shaft and differential, to the front wheels.Most modern vehicles allow for most high and low range “four wheel drive” In high range, speed and power similar to normal “two wheel” drive is delivered to the wheels. In low range, the speed is reduced and the power increased quite dramatically.Free-wheel hubs are fitted to the front wheels of some 4 x 4 vehicles. They allow the driver to connect or disconnect the wheel hubs from the half shafts. They are often mistaken for the “locked diff”, but are no way related. The hubs should only be “locked” if the transfer gearbox is placed in the four-wheel drive. At all other times the hubs must be “free”.


“Diff Lock” has the advantage of distributing the power evenly to both wheels, thus allowing you to get out of difficult situations more easily. However, as with most other things mechanical, with this advantage comes a disadvantage. As the differential is now locked, the wheels cannot turn at different speeds whilst cornering. On soft terrain, this leads to the wheel on the inside of the turn “chunking”, or turning on the spot, which causes severe damage to the tyre and puts excessive strain on the differential components. CAUTION On hard terrain, the inside wheel cannot turn at the same speed and cannot “chunk”. Obviously this puts a tremendous strain on the differential components and the tyres and usually leads to severe damage to the planetary gears inside the differential.

Gear Selection

Even 4 x 4’s have limits. Conditions may be so bad or even the traction required is so high that even a 4 x 4 spins it’s wheels or needs lower gears.
A general rule before attempting any obstacle is to check on foot, looking for those additional problems that are not obvious from behind the steering wheel. As in any driving situation, you should always be reading the conditions up ahead. Know what is 20 meters in front but, more importantly, choose the right gear

Momentum, traction, throttle control

Common sense steep slopes need no more that common sense tactics. If it is reasonable smooth and not excessively steep, take a bit of a run at it on the right gear and do not over - torque the wheels to provoke wheel spin. Select the right gear before the slope and stay in it. But only on really difficult slopes, as ever, an on-foot survey will help. Such slopes are unlikely to be smooth and tramping out the chosen route to locate any local bumps, tree stumps or rabbit holes that might cause a wheel to lift will be useful.

Failed climb, recovery

If you are losing grip on the steep climb don’t boot the throttle and accentuate the wheel–spin, de-clutch and apply the foot brake. Your first failure on a very steep climb – nose the vehicle pointing at the sky, brake leg trembling, maybe a dead engine and a plan view of the world in your rear view mirror – can be mildly scaring: it can sometimes also be mechanically traumatic for the vehicle if the driver tries to bluff it out or attempts impossibly quick sequences of control selections during the “recovery” descent.


Remove the drama - 4 x 4 vehicles extraordinary agility may make your first really steep descent an intimidating experience. At 45 degrees down – slope itself is unusual enough but to this angle you add the fact that you are looking even further downward over the bonnet, the result can seem vertical, especially when you are hanging forward in your seat harness. But this is an experience that you will very quickly get used to – usually after just one steep descent. As with climbs, the aim is to take the drama out of the situation and utilise the vehicle’s facility for keeping you in control.


Think ahead - Think of wading as a wet, blind and usually cold manifestation of every other type of obstacle and hazard you may come across. This is not meant as an unduly gloomy warning so much as a reminder that the same kind of potential problem can lurk beneath the water as you may see on dry land and that advance knowledge of them is no less important.

Walking the course - Water obstacles, large or small, should always be examined first. Rubber boots and a long stick are the extras required for an on – foot survey before committing a vehicle. Generally, stagnant water is more likely to be a hazard than a river or a steam as flowing water tends to prevent a build – up of silt. The silt in a stagnant pool or mud hollow can be several feet deep and very soft. Ensuring that the bottom of the pool or stream is firm enough along all of your proposed traverse is essential and it will inevitably take some time to do thoroughly. Markers may be necessary (such as sticks) to be sure the vehicle follows the route you have proved on foot.