Tips for Beach Driving

Beach Driving

  • When pulling onto the approach road you should decrease the air pressure in your tires to 20-25 pounds. When you lower the air pressure it gives the tire a wider, softer footprint enabling the vehicle to ride higher on top of the sand instead of digging down into it. This also helps to reduce the amount of strain on the engine since you’re rolling on top of the sand and not plowing through it.
  • When driving through the softer sand between the approach road and the hard packed beach, do not stop. Drive at a slow, even pace. The maximum speed limit is 25 MPH. Accelerating too quickly will cause loss of traction and bury you to the axle. If this happens, it’s time to break out the jack and shovel.
  • Try to stay in the ruts made by other vehicles unless they are so deep you bottom out. The sand in these ruts is more compacted than other sand.
  • Stay on the hard pack. This soft sand is the Peninsula’s version of quick sand, and driving in it is a fair guarantee you will bury your car to the axel.
  • If you do get stuck beyond your ability to pull yourself out, expect tow fees to be at least $100.
  • Stay out of the clam beds (the softer sand close to the water line). This preserves our clams and ensures more recreational dig dates available each year. (It also keeps you from getting a ticket!)
  • Watch the tides! Don’t get trapped on the wrong side of areas of the beach that are impassable at high tide.
  • If you can do so without going into the sugar sand, park above the high tide line.
  • In the event that you do lose traction, DO NOT spin your wheels to try to dig out of it. It only takes a couple of pumps on the gas to sink you down to your axle. The best solution is to decrease your tire pressure, shift to low range and back out of the rut you came in on before trying to proceed.
  • Always watch for pedestrians, animals and sunbathers. And remember, beach debris cannot be trusted to stay put. Sneaker waves can lift perfectly stable looking logs and move them quite a distance in just a few moments.
  • Give the underside of your vehicle a good freshwater rinse when you come off the beach to remove corrosive sand and salt.

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