Things To Consider Before Driving Off-Road - Hoshino Shiro

Things To Consider Before Driving Off-Road

Things To Consider Before Driving Off-Road

In addition to offering an outstanding on-road driving experience, your vehicle excels in all types of off-road driving. This van has been designed and equipped to allow you to explore places the road can't take you, whether it's a forest track or a desert expanse. Before driving your off-road vehicle, check with local authorities for authorized trails and recreational areas for off-road driving. Also, make sure you know all of the registration requirements for your off-road vehicle in the area you plan to drive.

How to Off-Road Driving Safely

The "Tread Lightly" Educational Program was set up in the United States to raise public awareness of the responsibilities and regulations relating to protected natural areas. The partners with the US Forest Service and the United States Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management to urge you to respect the environment and exercise good citizenship when visiting national parks or other public and private domains.

Before driving your vehicle off-road, a general inspection of the vehicle should be carried out to ensure that it is in perfect operating condition.

It is always recommended to go off-road with at least two vehicles. Companionship provides immediate assistance in the event that one of the vehicles gets stuck or suffers damage. It is also recommended that you carry equipment such as a first aid kit, drinking water, tow straps, a cell or satellite phone on your off-road excursions.

Before driving off-road, remove the front license plate to optimize performance.

Basic off-road driving techniques

  • Grasp the steering wheel with the thumbs outside the circle. This will reduce the risk of injury from sudden steering wheel movements that occur when driving on rough terrain. Do not grip the steering wheel with the thumbs inside the circle.
  • Acceleration, braking and steering should be smooth and controlled. Maneuvers that are too abrupt can cause the vehicle to lose grip or affect its behavior, especially on slopes or when crossing obstacles such as rocks or tree trunks.
  • Look at the terrain in front of you, noting any upcoming obstacles, surface texture changes, color changes, or any other factors that might indicate a change in grip. Adapt the speed of the vehicle and its trajectory accordingly. While scouting the route, note obstacles using GPS landmarks to adopt appropriate speeds to avoid possible damage to the vehicle.
  • During off-road driving, if the front or rear suspension bottoms out or if the skid plates touch the ground frequently, slow down to avoid damaging the vehicle.
  • For group rides, it is recommended to use radio communication means so that the first vehicle can signal to the following vehicles obstacles that could cause damage.
  • Always remember to maintain sufficient ground clearance and choose a trajectory that limits the risk of rubbing the vehicle's underbody.
  • When negotiating obstacles at low speed, apply light brake pressure while depressing the accelerator pedal to avoid swerving and negotiate obstacles in a more controlled manner. Using 4L mode can also be helpful.
  • Use the additional safety equipment described later in this chapter, see Off-road driving at high speeds.
  • Please consult your local off-road riding club for further practical advice.
  • Off-road driving requires a high degree of concentration. Although local law does not prohibit the use of alcohol while off-roading, company must strongly recommends that you do not consume alcohol if you plan to engage in this activity.

Overcoming obstacles

  • Examine the terrain in front of you before attempting to cross obstacles. It is best to scan obstacles from outside the vehicle to get a good idea of ​​the terrain conditions in front of and behind the obstacles.
  • Approach obstacles slowly and negotiate them slowly and gradually.
  • If a large obstacle, such as a rock, cannot be avoided, choose a trajectory in which it will be under the wheel rather than under the vehicle. This will prevent damage to the vehicle.
  • Ditches and eroded terrain should be crossed at a 45 degree angle, allowing each wheel to cross the obstacle separately.

Climbing a slope

WARNING: To avoid loss of control, use caution when reversing the vehicle on a downhill grade.

  • Always try to climb a steep slope along the fall line and not diagonally.
  • If the vehicle cannot climb the hill, do NOT attempt to turn around to descend. Select low range and back slowly to the bottom of the hill.
  • When descending a steep hill, select low range and engage Trail Control. Use the throttle and brakes to control downhill speed as described earlier in this chapter using Trail Control. The Trail Control function can also be activated when reversing and should be used in such situations.


Your vehicle is designed to be able to navigate water depths up to 32 in (810 mm). However, as the depth of the water increases, you must reduce your speed to avoid possible damage to the vehicle.

  • Always determine the depth of the body of water before crossing.
  • Proceed slowly and avoid unnecessary splashing.
  • Remember that obstacles and debris may be present below the surface of the water.
  • Keep the doors tightly closed while crossing the body of water.
  • Once you have crossed the body of water, drive slowly for a short distance and check the effectiveness of the brakes.

Refer to the table below for maximum allowable speeds through water.

Note: If you do not observe the recommended speeds, you risk damaging the vehicle.

water depth  Maximum permissible vehicle speed  
6 in (150mm)  40 mph (65 km/h)  
8 in (200mm)  31 mph (50 km/h)  
10" (250mm)  19 mph (30 km/h)  
12" (300mm)  8 mph (12 km/h)  
18 to 32 in (450 to 810 mm)  4 mph (7 km/h)  
Reverse – up to 30 in (760 mm)  Less than 6 mph (10 km/h)  

High-speed off-road driving

The off-road driving discussed so far deals with events normally encountered in low-speed off-road driving. Your vehicle certainly performs great for a full-size pickup truck in these slow-speed conditions, but it truly excels in high-speed, "Baja-like" off-road driving. High-speed off-road driving presents a particular challenge, but special care should be taken before engaging in this type of practice.

If you plan to use the pickup truck in severe high-speed off-road driving conditions, we recommend the following:

  1. Equip your van with the safety equipment used for the full production class as defined in the rulebooks for "SCORE International Off Road Racing" (
  2. Use personal safety equipment, including a SNELL SA approved hard hat and approved neck restraint.
  3. Before venturing off-road into unfamiliar areas at high speeds, take a low-speed reconnaissance lap to familiarize yourself with the locations and obstacles there.

The performance has designed your vehicle for off-road use beyond what is normal for an F-150. However, he can suffer damage if driven beyond his capabilities. Skid plates, impact shields and running boards have been designed to help limit damage to vital components and exterior finishes but may not prevent some damage if the vehicle is driven in extreme off-road conditions. Damage to skid plates, impact shields, running boards and exterior finishes as well as bent, cracked or broken body, frame or chassis components may not be covered under warranty.

It is important to familiarize yourself with the controls and vehicle dynamics before attempting high-speed off-road driving.

A few things to consider:

  • Gradually increase the speed. Drive at a pace that allows ample time to assess the surrounding terrain and understand how the vehicle reacts to the lay of the terrain and driver input. Increase the pace as confidence levels increase while analyzing the vehicle's reactions to various events at different speeds.
  • Look for an open space to experiment with the various functions of the van. Try a given maneuver with different vehicle settings, e.g. eg, 4H and 4L, differential locked and unlocked, AdvanceTrac™ system in ignition on, single press or hold mode, and observe the reactions of the truck. Start slow and gradually increase the pace as confidence levels increase.
  • Similarly, in an open space, experiment with different driving techniques. For example, if the vehicle tends to understeer, applying light braking in a turn can help the pickup truck turn. Approaching the corner wider or a slower approach speed can help the vehicle turn and accelerate out of the corner sooner.
  • Remember that smoothness equals speed. These are interventions on the steering, accelerator and brakes. Precise and smooth gestures will produce better results while increasing safety.
  • As the speed increases, it is recommended to look farther ahead to have enough time to react to upcoming obstacles. Remember that in many off-road environments, obstacles are difficult to see until they are relatively close. A good strategy is to look far ahead and then just ahead of the vehicle.
  • You also have to drive according to the field of vision. You should not drive faster than you can negotiate unforeseen obstacles. These may include obstacles on top of a hill, in a ravine, in brush, in dusty conditions and in the dark.
  • If you are driving in a dusty area, be sure to keep enough distance between your vehicle and those ahead to ensure adequate visibility.
  • Always remember that you are not alone in a recreational area, and you should always be aware of the presence of other people in your area. This is especially true of motorcycles and off-road vehicles which can be more difficult to spot than a large vehicle.
  • For driving in a desert area, it is advisable to always keep the headlights on to be more visible to other drivers.
  • When driving in the desert, the middle of the day is the most difficult time to see small ridges and depressions due to the lack of shadow produced by the sun at its zenith. In this case, extreme care must be taken not to accidentally encounter such obstacles.
  • When driving off-road, it is highly recommended to switch to off-road mode. See the Ground Control chapter in this supplement for details.

After off-road driving

It is important to carry out a complete inspection of the vehicle after driving off-road. Main points to check:

  1. Check that the tires are inflated to the pressure indicated on the tire label.
  2. Check the wheels and underbody for any buildup of mud or debris that could cause vibration.
  3. Check the grille and radiator for any obstructions that could affect cooling efficiency.
  4. Check that the brakes are in good working order and free of mud, gravel and other debris that could get stuck around the brake rotors, back plates and calipers.
  5. Check that the air filter is clean and dry.
  6. Check that the ball joints, half-shafts and steering box boots are not torn or punctured.
  7. Check the condition and tightness of the exhaust circuit components.
  8. Inspect the underbody fasteners. If a fastener is loose or damaged, retighten or replace it to the prescribed torque.
  9. Look for any nicks in the tread or on the sidewalls of the tires. Also inspect the sidewalls of the tires for any bulges indicating damage.
  10. Look for any deformations, cracks or other damage on the rims.
  11. If previously removed, reinstall the front license plate.

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