Get to grips with off-road techniques

A great number of 4x4 driver training courses and experience days are now available to hone your driving skills – and if you use a 4x4 at work, participation in one may be required by law.

Courses aim to give new 4x4 drivers the confidence and competence to tackle a range of terrains, and are even popular among non-4x4 drivers.

Typical 4x4 driver training courses teach the essential off-road driving techniques behind crossing water, climbing steep hills and traversing boggy ground. Perhaps most importantly, they’ll also teach ‘fail techniques’ – what to do should your vehicle start sliding back down a steep hill, or get stuck in mud for example.

Professional 4x4 driver training

A number of rural professions necessitate the use of a 4x4. If you use an off-road vehicle at work, you may need a professional qualification.

That’s due to health and safety legislation, which recommends professional 4x4 drivers should be trained and assessed by recognised instructors.

If you’re looking for 4x4 driver training courses for your employees, make sure instructors are LANTRA or BORDA qualified. LANTRA is the sector skills council for environmental and land-based industries, while BORDA is the British Off-Road Driving Association.

If you drive larger 4x4 vehicles, your course may need to be accredited by the Driving Standards Agency – if in doubt, consult the HSE’s PUWER legislation – the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations.

Recreational courses

Recreational courses can be enjoyed regardless of ability – though many will also offer the chance to gain some form of qualification at the end of the session.

You’ll be able to take tuition on a one-to-one basis, or (usually) share the experience with friends and family. A number of centres even offer gift vouchers, which allow you to give the 4x4 experience as a present.

Remember, even if you don’t require 4x4 driver training for work purposes, it is still advisable to look for a course certified by one of the organisations mentioned above.