Thinking of taking your 4x4 on an off-road adventure? Here are a few useful tips to help smooth the way.
Ensure you're legally allowed to use the track or field - if in doubt, don't do it.
Respect the environment - don't churn up the ground unnecessarily and try to stick to marked tracks. Close all farm gates behind you and take care not to frighten wildlife.
Engage four-wheel drive before getting into the rough stuff. If your vehicle has a low-ratio gearbox, engage that too.
Always go very slowly - vehicles most often get stuck or damaged because they're being driven too quickly.
Ensure that your tyres are suitable for off-roading and always carry a spare - even dedicated off-road tyres are prone to damage and punctures from rocks and other sharp debris on off-road tracks.
Try to drive in convoy with another 4x4 - that way if either of you gets stuck, you can tow the other out of trouble.
Drive within your limits. Off-roaders can do remarkable things, but only in the hands of experienced drivers. If you're uncertain about the conditions, go back the way you came; there are no prizes for getting stuck.
If heading a long way from civilisation, take some form of communication gear and always let someone else know your intended route. Also take rations, warm clothing, tools and a spade - it's best to be prepared.