Land Rover Defender Blog


Offroad Driving Mistakes: Braking

Ben Gribbin

Ben Gribbin

November 9, 2010

Hello, I'm the editor of FunRover. I'm a massive Land Rover fan. Currently own a TD5 90. 2015 MR Blogger of the Year


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We've tirelessly trawled YouTube for some of the worst crashes and biggest off-roading mistakes, caused by improper braking technique.

Range Rover Crash Downhill

What went wrong here? Well the driver had his foot on and off the brakes all the way down the hill. You should select a low range gear and use the engine to manage your decent. Avoid using the brakes and as with any off-road situation, walk it first - to establish the best route and spot potential hazards.

Try and pick as straight a route as possible to reduce the risk of rolling over on steep slopes. Keep your foot off the brakes, and if you absolutely must use them, and find your vehicle veering or skidding, remove your foot from the brake pedal - this will help regain traction as the wheels are able to move, increasing the effectiveness of the steering wheel and regaining control.

Here's another example, as soon as the driver brakes things go terribly wrong. Driving too fast for the conditions also played a major part:

Here's another example where the driver should have stuck it in 1st, low gear and eased the car down. Controlled forward momentum would have avoided any problems here. A real near miss:

Defender into Pipeline Support

What can we say? Always remember where your steering wheel is pointed! Put a piece of tape dead center if this helps you remember. This driver was lucky not to roll when navigating the bend at the beginning and finished with his wheels out of line.

Slip Across Ruts Downhill

You can see the exact moment the driver taps the brakes... nice gloves by the way.

Defender off Ledge

Always take things easily. A well known off-roading adage to follow says "go as slowly as possible and as fast as necessary". That's a great mantra to follow, always trying to keep a slow, steady speed rather than gunning it - unless you really have to. And if you do, then always know what's over the crest, round the corner, down that drop e.t.c

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  1. Marcus says:

    What a refreshing change! It is so good to see someone explaining these all too common offroad boo boos. I go out with many friends in the mountains and I squirm all day watching them brake ad brake and brake. You cant stand there and keep telling them how to drive or soon you wont be invited out anymore! And a “Told you so” after they mess it up never goes down well either..

  2. Gavin Earnshaw says:

    As a teacher of 4×4 driving these vids are a good demonstration of how not to do it. The black 110DC should have had a spotter/marshall as his rear wheels were not correct on entry and as you say hitting the brake…

    I often remind people that braking on the road causes the weight to shift forward, allowing the front brakes to do more work and are consequently larger to make use of the extra grip this causes. Off road you can still get some of the weight shift but a lack of suitable grip means you are likely to lose control at the front and also steering!

    Also about 90% of drivers have problems remembering where the steering wheels are pointing as we have got used to self-centering on the road telling us where straight-ahead is.

  3. Fred says:

    Please update this post – it’s impossible to read on IOS!

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