Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Off Roading is a recreational pursuit popular among a small sub-section of the owners of four wheel drive vehicles. As the name suggests, it involves driving in areas that would be considered challenging to inaccessible in other vehicle types.
There are numerous categories of off roading, with something suitable for all levels of experience and equipment.
Some of the major categories of off roading are listed below.
This is one of the least 'extreme' categories. It is generally suitable for any four wheel drive vehicle, even with factory tyres and equipment. The term greenlane refers to the fact that they routes are predominantly along unpaved tracks, forest tracks, or older roadways that may have fallen into disuse. For a lot of greenlaners, the main emphasis is on enjoying the countryside, and accessing areas that may be seldom traveled by motor vehicles, rather than exploring the performance envelope of their vehicle.
Mud plugging involves finding a large area of wet mud or clay and attempting to drive as far through it as possible without becoming stuck. Usually, the stock tyres supplied with four by four vehicles are completely inadequate for this type of off roading, and Mud-terrain tyres are required. Strongly attached recovery points are also recommended to enable the vehicle to be towed out when it becomes bogged down. It is probably fair to say that there is not a great amount of skill or technique required for most levels of mud plugging. Next to traction, momentum is a big factor in success.
Winch events often involve attempting to access areas that would be impassable without the use of the aforementioned winch - this can include traversing deep gullies, steep slopes and so on. Most off road vehicles that have been prepared for this type of event will typically have two winches, one at the front and one at the rear of the vehicle, each with a rated pull of over 9,000lbs.
Rock crawling is a highly technical category of off roading. Vehicles are typically modified by adding very large tyres, modifying the suspension components to greatly increase axle articulation, and also by changing the gearing to allow for very slow speeds while traversing obstacles. It is quite common for a rock crawler to have a spotter - an assistant who will go on foot alongside or in front of the vehicle to provide information to the driver on obstacles or areas of terrain that they may be unable to see.
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