Driving in Mud

Tell them to close all the windows as mud will invariably fly everywhere and you don’t want it in the cab. It is important to maintain forward momentum, drive as fast as is necessary, but as slowly as possible. By that I mean fast enough to maintain forward momentum, without risking losing control or racing unnecessarily. Second, third or even fourth gear should be used dependant on vehicle and gradient. The reason for this is to minimise wheel spin, by reducing the available torque to the driving wheel, whilst maintaining enough power to keep the vehicle moving.

Once the vehicle is underway it is generally not a good idea to attempt a gear change, as this will cause a lack of momentum. Therefore select an appropriate gear that will allow you to complete the muddy section without the need to change gears.

Do not fight the vehicles chosen path. It will find the path of least resistance, but over steering in the opposite direction can result in the vehicle veering off your chosen course.


Mud can be described as wet, soft, earthy matter. There are several types of it. However they all have one thing in common, they are formed by a mixture of soil and water in a ratio that turns otherwise firm ground into a soft, slippery surface.

Mud appears in countless variations dependant on where you are at the time. There is heavy clay, soft peat and gritty loam, shallow and deep, wet and sticky and they all result in loss of grip on the vehicle tyres, especially those vehicles that are not equipped with Mud terrain tyres.

If you have any doubts get out and have a look at what you’re dealing with. A five-minute recce now could save you hours of recovery later. If the route is clearly too difficult for the vehicles in the group, make a judgement call and turn around. If however you feel it will be possible with care, follow the techniques outlined below to obtain the best from the vehicles.

Instruct your group to select low ratio (if you have not already done so) and for vehicles equipped with a centre-locking differential to engage that as well.

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