One thing I don't think they mention is that big off-road tires are usually a bad idea on sand. You are better off with summer tires that have very little tread. Tread doesn't do anything for traction and just makes you bury your tires faster.
Having lots of clearance is important. The second you bottom out you are screwed.
These two things can also go against each other, so it's a balance. If you have a truck with good clearance already go with the road tires.
It's not a good idea to go on sand with a vehicle that has electronic stability control or any type of breaking based traction control. You will burn the hell out of your breaks on sand. You really need 4WD with locking differentials. This is true in general for off-roading.
You can get out of a partial bury by rocking the vehicle backwards and forwards. Add some gas to rock a little bit without spinning the tires, release and let the vehicle rock back the other way, on the return swing add a little more gas, keep building the momentum until you get out.
Learn to feel for tire spins. Once you start to feel a spin get off the gas immediately. I can't describe how it feels, but you can get a sense for it.
Source: Grew up driving and camping on the beaches of New England.
At one point, there were about 5-6 huge bro-dozer trucks stuck out in this super soft sandy area. Some guy with a lowered 4wd Tahoe on some big chrome rims with super wide, low profile street tires decides to drive into that same area. His truck just floated over the sand, right past all these guys with their expensive mud terrain tires. After he drove through and embarrassed everybody else, he turned around and drove through again, then stopped in the sand multiple times, and kept going.
It was very satisfying to watch. But really kinda proved that the big blocky tires, aren't the best for sand. And a lift kit won't do anything if your tires just dig themselves in.
Large textured tread is primarily about mud. When the size of the "lug" is large enough, it ejects the mud up & back, leaving the tread free to grip again. Without these, in the mud your tires become big smooth balloons with no grip.
Big tires are primarily about climbing obstacles. Loose sand rarely is a tall obstacle ;-)
One advantage large tires can have in the sand is that when you air them down, the surface area gets much larger, and that can keep you "afloat" on top of the sand better.
If you have factory highway tires in your average passenger car, beware, you're pretty likely to tear a sidewall.
Factory (= cheap) highway tires have weak sidewalls, so if you drop PSI too low they'll tear the sidewall pretty easily, or slip off the wheel. Off-road tires have stronger sidewalls.
Many American car owners have never even put on a spare tire. Telling that crowd to start lowering their tire pressure is a recipe for damaged tires.
Stay at home and do donuts in your Walmart parking lot instead. People like you created it. Enjoy it.
- recon on foot if uncertain (this is also in the article)
- always keep a positive torque on the rear wheel and let the front wheel find its way
- don't get scared, the front wheel is supposed to skid a little and the rear wheel is supposed to slip a little
- Keep the front wheel as light as possible, that means pushing your body far back whilst standing on the pegs.
- If things start to get twitchy give it some gas - throttle heals most such situations, though is counter-intuitive and scary.
Sand needs skinny and big (radius) front wheel, that's why most offroad motorcycles have 21" front wheel. The counter point to this is harder turning in the twisties on tarmac due to increased gyroscopic effect of bigger radius wheel. Sportsbikes have 17" for this reason, tourist and soft-enduro bikes try to strike a balance with 19" wheel and hard enduros are all 21". Bigger wheel climbs up, smaller wheel digs itself in.
I think the exact phrase is:
"when in doubt, gas it out"
Worked great for Jeremy Felts...
(but yeah, it's good advice most of the time)
He ran over some lady at a major Jeep event a couple years ago because he throttled out when he shouldn't have (among other bad decisions that were prerequisites of that outcome) and it was all caught on video. This would have been fine, shit happens, it's a dangerous sport. But he then tried to blame everyone but himself for it which got him a substantial amount of ridicule.
beaches are for turtle nests.
Also, many deserts are very fragile ecosystems: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_soil_crust
(of course there are deserts which are so inhospitable that there is virtually no life to be found, like the sand dunes in the Arabian deserts - there, offroad driving may be ok)
Beaches are populated by all sorts of life, some of which probably needs protecting.
Choose your recreation spots carefully.
I probably meant something like: stick to the designated areas, and if you're going to trailblazer just be aware of what to avoid to at least try to minimise impact.
I guess if you optimize for avoiding a specific form of harm you can succeed. But if you want to avoid all harm it seems a very narrow tightrope.
One related story I like is how Assetto Corsa Competizione devs bumped into "weird" behavior emerging from their simulations which seemed like a bug - but then confronted with the actual manufacturers and found out that it happens in real life as well:
Highly recommended, video is titled "A traction control bug that was a realistic feature".
EDIT: And this is before you get to aerodynamics, which is a whole different can of worms. With todays GT3 cars, how you simulate the front splitter and rear diffuser can make or break the accuracy of the simulation. It's fantastic stuff. Wish I worked on this day-to-day. On the other hand I have trouble putting it down and going to bed when doing it as a hobby, so...
Source: live near many teams just outside of Charlotte
Acting on it, though... :-)
Life seems balanced now, I get to scratch my itches, not unhappy at my current job, and I don't feel like I'm saying "no" and making excuses. A tiny step here, a tiny step there, worst case it turns out to be a pleasant stroll.
I’ve gotten multiple vehicles unstuck just by letting them use my deflator.
I'm no expert but I do drive on UK beaches at least once a week to launch and recover lifeboats, and I've always found wet sand to be firmer and much better for driving on that the dry, light fluffy stuff found at the top of the beach near the dunes!
I didn't see the event, but helped dig out a bulldozer that had been eaten by someones pasture once. To all appearances this little clearing in the valley was firm dirt with a stream running around the edge, but when the heavy equipment climbed up onto the "puck" you could see the water squeze out of the edges all the way around. The 'dozer had got about 20 yards out before the ground cracked and went fluid under it, it sank to the roof and didn't even disturb the greenery 6ft away. Guy driving it said the whole thing took seconds, just enough time for him to jump down.
It was late in the evening on Friday, almost dark and I was out of phone range. I was single at the time, my bosses and co-workers had all gone home for the weekend and no one was going to miss I was gone until at least Monday morning.
It was probably a good 8 or 10 mile hike minimum back to the road so I decided to settle in for the night and hike out in the morning and get help. So I slept in the truck.
During the night it rained and wet the sand and the next morning I drove right out. Then I kicked myself because there was water right there in the stream and I could have wet the sand myself!
Yes, every year or so a tourist group kills themselves, and yes, it's probably not an option for most of you right now with covid, but man, driving and camping on it can be an awful lot of fun.
They always need volunteers, and you get free lunch and dinner. Great community too.
Try to pick a speed you can maintain, stopping and starting are hard, always try to stay a little bit in motion. Minimize steering input, be smooth with the inputs you need to do. When in doubt, give it some power.