I grew up going to Glamis Sand Dunes, located in southern California. Driving in the sand was something we all knew how to do. However, I moved to Central California and decided to start going to Pismo Beach instead. I didn't realize there was a number of people that did not know how to drive in soft sand.
Pismo Beach is a great California tourist attraction. People are excited to drive on the beach in their personal cars or even rented dune buggies and quads. Renting quads sounds like a good time for the whole family. However, unskilled drivers can wreck the rented ATVs or get buried in the sand and not know how to free themselves.
Cars are also seen along the coast, buried to the axles. Pismo contains very soft sand and only should be accesses with a four wheel drive vehicle.
Learning some basic tricks will save you from the stress of getting your vehicle unstuck and possibly prevent you from spending money on towing services to pull you out.
1. Air down your tires. When things start getting soft, the first thing you should do is lower the pressure in your tires. Big tires should have a low pressure of between 15 and 18 pounds and small tires should have a low pressure between 5 and 8 pounds. Don't go lower!
2. Drive carefully. You should accelerate and stop smoothly. Do not make sudden stops or turns. Allow your vehicle to coast to a stop whenever possible. Do not turn sharp. Wide turns will allow you too keep your momentum up! Spinning your tires may leave you stranded in the sand.
3. If your vehicle starts bogging, on the verge of becoming stuck, accelerate. Remember to accelerate smoothly, but not enough to spin your tires. Don't let off the gas until you are in the clear!
4. If you are in a well traveled area, stick to paths other vehicles have traveled. Follow their tracks!
5. If you start getting stuck, but you are not buried to the axle yet, try backing up. If you start getting stuck when you are in reverse, go forward. You get the picture! Keep going back and forth as long as you are making some type of progress.
6. Use anything to gain traction! If you have firewood or outdoor rugs, lay them down in front of your path. Your tires are spinning because there is no traction. Putting objects in front of your tires may help you get unstuck.
7. Dig trenches is front of your path. Get a shovel and dig out the areas directly in front and in back of your path. Pour water in the dirt to gain more traction.