A Guide To Gravel Travel - Page 2





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  1. #21
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    Default Re: A Guide To Gravel Travel

    Quote Originally Posted by HugoNotte View Post
    Would you deem it safe to pass at speed on a gravel road less than a meter apart?
    Also, at close passing distance the vehicles' bodywork will pick up chips and possibly dents from larger rocks that otherwise won't make it far.
    Your engine will suck in even more concentrated dust.

    I'd rather slow down, if a stone hits the windscreen, it won't cause damage.
    Slow down, by all means, but pass the other vehicle close. And no, slowing down is not going to protect your windscreen. The rock that gets under the edge of the tyre and then gets thrown out comes out with surprising speed, even if you are crawling along. It will still shatter your windscreen.

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  2. #22
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    Default Re: A Guide To Gravel Travel

    Quote Originally Posted by C Africa View Post
    Slow down, by all means, but pass the other vehicle close. And no, slowing down is not going to protect your windscreen. The rock that gets under the edge of the tyre and then gets thrown out comes out with surprising speed, even if you are crawling along. It will still shatter your windscreen.

    C
    You have a point but I'm not sure I agree with you, I tow a boat down to the house of ours on the coast, the dirt road is 95 and 80km depending which side you come from. I do 40-50km/h depending on the road condition, any faster and I start flinging stones at my boat and I can immediately tell with clear stone chips on the gelcoat.

    Secondly you can often get stuck behind tractors on this road and at this slow speed you can see every stone the tractor and its trailer drive over and none of these get airborne.
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  3. #23
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    Default Re: A Guide To Gravel Travel

    Quote Originally Posted by C Africa View Post
    Slow down, by all means, but pass the other vehicle close. And no, slowing down is not going to protect your windscreen. The rock that gets under the edge of the tyre and then gets thrown out comes out with surprising speed, even if you are crawling along. It will still shatter your windscreen.

    C
    We might have very different experiences regarding gravel rod travel.
    Stones getting kicked up by an oncoming vehicle will NOT fly in the opposite direction of your travel at significant speed. Usually they get kicked up and go sideways and towards the rear of the vehicle passing you.
    Hence the speed that you are traveling at has got the most impact on whether a stone hitting your windscreen causes damage or not.
    If your vehicle flings stones forward, how do your side mirrors survive?

    Apart from that, if you encounter opposite traffic, that guy gives you space and moves to the outside of the road, what will happen if you try to pass him as close as possible? You would have to cross the middle of the road, the other guy might think you are drunk and go off the road, good chance that causes an accident.

    Other scenario, you overtake someone. Staying laterally close to that vehicle, you will spend quite a lot of time in the rear quadrant of that vehicle at an accute angle where you are very likely to pick up stones from that vehicle. Now those stones are being flung at you at speed plus your own speed you are traveling at.
    Once you have passed the other vehicle you will throw stones at it.
    I can't see how that makes sense.

    I'll stick to what has worked for me for decades and what I know other drivers would expect me to do. Believe me, the steep windscreen of the FJ is very unforgiving. But I won't push anyone else off the road to try and avoid a stone chip.

    Maybe gravel roads in SA are very different and your way of driving makes sense. I dunno.
    Last edited by HugoNotte; 2020/12/24 at 02:07 PM.
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  5. #24
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    Default Re: A Guide To Gravel Travel

    Mudflaps. Big rubber mudflaps. Front and rear. Most local vehicles here are fitted with those and the locals don't experience stones being thrown at each other when passing. The municipality's bakkie that has to use the gravel roads to inspect the town's boreholes actually has a big full width rubber apron fitted under the tail gate that is just off the ground. The municipality doesn't want to pay for anyone's broken windscreen.

    As for moving closer to the approaching vehicle, that is not done here by regular gravel travellers. both maintain speed and stay as far as possible left as an unseen surface deformation can send a vehicle toward the centre of the road. Trying to come closer or not having front and rear mudflaps will result in someone having a chat with you.

  6. #25
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    Default Re: A Guide To Gravel Travel

    Seasons greetings,

    We love gravel roading, keeping the exploratory senses energised, close the elements and nature. Thanks, this has being a very informative thread of interesting experience levels and views.

    All respect to the locals that know every inch and are fine-tuned and experienced to handle getting on with it. Brings back a particular memory where my Boet and I were passengers in front of bakkie (Hilix IIRC) with old farmer Oom we just met who was taking us to town. Chatting alway, one hand on the steering and "subtly" doing around 160km/h + on gravel as if we were on a Sunday stroll. We were impressed, a bit wobbly in the knees after, with some white knuckles....but I digress.

    For me I know I am the guy under the locals feet on their roads, and in general, I like to slow down for safety common sense and also as respect to the locals and gesoute drivers typically on their turf/livelihood travels and I try and stay respectfully out of their way trying to balance avoidance of stone strikes, bends, blinrd rises, narrow sections, and dust visibility etc. I also get irritated sometimes with the complete idiots, but hey, I hope I improve from being an idiot myself.

    Just a a quick shout out to Oom Koos on Van Der Stel Pass a while back, who not only spotted we had a servious undercarriage problem as he saw us drive passed with the steering stabilizer hanging after unknowing dropping a bolt, but he came back when I stopped, he then humbly popped over to,see if we ok, climbed underneath into the dust in his spotless uniform, took one look, went back to his bakkie and literally scratched around in a toolbox for two minutes and produced a perfect replacement which he sommer promptly fitted, and off he went friendly and humble. Traan in die dog moments and extra appreciation for the opportunity to explore what we love.

    Ok...last comment 😅. We have become more sensitive and appreciative of NOT driving where one should not ( when in doubt, stay out _ is our new motto)

    I see I made Christmas, enjoy all, be safe and enjoy the chow!

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  8. #26
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    Default Re: A Guide To Gravel Travel

    Quote Originally Posted by A1ex View Post
    I thought this thread appropriate to try promote good etiquette towards other gravel travel users over the festive season when everyone is eager to get to their holiday destinations.

    I feel like a lot of people don't understand the unwritten laws/rules on good gravel travel. People who do not travel dirt roads daily can easily make these mistakes as they do not spend enough time on them to see the consequences of bad dirt road driving on their cars. I understand that some people like to travel at 100+km/h, I sometimes do myself if the road is in good condition, at our own risk, and I have no issue with this but when they decide to do this coming past you in the opposite direction or overtaking this becomes a problem for me.

    So these are the rules I like to apply when I drive dirt roads in order to both preserve my own vehicle including other dirt road users vehicles. They are most certainly up to members interpretations and criticism.

    If I have left any out or you can think of more please add them.


    1. Passing another vehicle moving in the opposite direction.


    ​ The two vehicles in this instance should both slow down for each other, and pass as wide apart from each other as safely possible.
    Speeds below 60km/h drastically reduce stones being flung out from the tyres at the opposing vehicles. Once Passed both vehicles increase speed back to their cruise speed.

    2. Overtaking.

    ​ Once you start seeing a vehicle approaching you in your rearview mirror this is an indication they are cruising faster than you. As they get closer slow down for them to overtake so you produce less dust for them to be blinded by. Also by slowing your speed means they need less speed to overtake you saving you and your car stone damage. The car overtaking should overtake as slow as possible and as fast as necessary, they should also overtake as wide as possible of the slower vehicle and keep on this wide path long past the actual overtake to avoid flinging stones and dust in front of the slower vehicle. A lot of people often end up speeding up once they see a car in their rear view mirrors not wanting the person to overtake. This just mean they need to speed up even more to try and get passed you putting both parties in more danger than necessary.
    IMHO More people should read this!! I really wish they did. The same should apply to pedestrians or donkey carts! We would really slow down and the other drivers would just barrel past and wave (sometimes), leaving one in a cloud of dust!! Poor pedestrians! I can never understand the senseless hurry and lack of consideration for anyone else on the road. We do have a lot to learn!!

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  10. #27
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    Default Re: A Guide To Gravel Travel

    LOL. Just face the fact that you want to use every possible excuse to put your vehicle in 4x4.

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  12. #28
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    Default Re: A Guide To Gravel Travel

    Quote Originally Posted by Searcher View Post
    Locking of center differential is definitely not applicable to all 4x4 vehicles and in doing so you can actually increase your risk.

    I drive a Land Cruiser 4.2 TD VX (Sahara). When I lock my CD, the VSC (Vehicle Stability Control) is overridden and cancelled. On gravel, I trust the VSC system in a loss of control situation more than I do a locked center diff.

    I do agree that if this is not the case, then lock your CD on gravel.
    Yeah i agree. I was talking about part-time 4wd vehicles like most bakkies, jimnys etc.

  13. #29
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    Default Re: A Guide To Gravel Travel

    Quote Originally Posted by Schambies View Post
    Yeah i agree. I was talking about part-time 4wd vehicles like most bakkies, jimnys etc.
    Those which usually don't have a centre diff in the first place...
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  14. #30
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    Default Re: A Guide To Gravel Travel

    One thing I can offer up (as a noob) that hasn't been mentioned, when driving past someone's home (humble as it might be) and the road is throwing tons of dust, slow right down. They may have washing on the line and would probably prefer not to have grit in their koffie...
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  16. #31
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    Default Re: A Guide To Gravel Travel

    Quote Originally Posted by IcePick88 View Post
    I just try and pull over first. Even if the car/bakkie in front of me is 100m down the road.

    I must say, there were more times that both myself and the car in front pulled over then it was like a disco with us flashing lights at each other.
    Eish !!!!
    Didn't you know that you should get out of the vehicle and dance while showing the other guy to move forward ?
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    Thumbs up Re: A Guide To Gravel Travel

    Quote Originally Posted by A1ex View Post
    I thought this thread appropriate to try promote good etiquette towards other gravel travel users over the festive season when everyone is eager to get to their holiday destinations.

    I feel like a lot of people don't understand the unwritten laws/rules on good gravel travel. People who do not travel dirt roads daily can easily make these mistakes as they do not spend enough time on them to see the consequences of bad dirt road driving on their cars. I understand that some people like to travel at 100+km/h, I sometimes do myself if the road is in good condition, at our own risk, and I have no issue with this but when they decide to do this coming past you in the opposite direction or overtaking this becomes a problem for me.

    So these are the rules I like to apply when I drive dirt roads in order to both preserve my own vehicle including other dirt road users vehicles. They are most certainly up to members interpretations and criticism.

    If I have left any out or you can think of more please add them.




    1. Passing another vehicle moving in the opposite direction.


    ​ The two vehicles in this instance should both slow down for each other, and pass as wide apart from each other as safely possible.
    Speeds below 60km/h drastically reduce stones being flung out from the tyres at the opposing vehicles. Once Passed both vehicles increase speed back to their cruise speed.

    2. Overtaking.

    ​ Once you start seeing a vehicle approaching you in your rearview mirror this is an indication they are cruising faster than you. As they get closer slow down for them to overtake so you produce less dust for them to be blinded by. Also by slowing your speed means they need less speed to overtake you saving you and your car stone damage. The car overtaking should overtake as slow as possible and as fast as necessary, they should also overtake as wide as possible of the slower vehicle and keep on this wide path long past the actual overtake to avoid flinging stones and dust in front of the slower vehicle. A lot of people often end up speeding up once they see a car in their rear view mirrors not wanting the person to overtake. This just mean they need to speed up even more to try and get passed you putting both parties in more danger than necessary.

  18. #33
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    Default Re: A Guide To Gravel Travel

    Quote Originally Posted by HugoNotte View Post
    Those which usually don't have a centre diff in the first place...
    HugoNotte what do you mean?

  19. #34
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    Default Re: A Guide To Gravel Travel

    Quote Originally Posted by CraigWatt View Post
    One thing I can offer up (as a noob) that hasn't been mentioned, when driving past someone's home (humble as it might be) and the road is throwing tons of dust, slow right down. They may have washing on the line and would probably prefer not to have grit in their koffie...
    We live on a dirt road in Port Alfred (was supposed to have been tarred 8 years ago) and there are plenty of people who love to race their cars and bakkies up and down the road, past us and our neighbors, throwing great big clouds of dust into the air that the wind blows over our houses. It's amazing how inconsiderate people can be! So I appreciate your comment.

  20. #35
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    Default Re: A Guide To Gravel Travel

    Quote Originally Posted by Schambies View Post
    HugoNotte what do you mean?
    You mentioned that locking the centre differential on 4x4 vehicles is important on gravel roads:
    Quote Originally Posted by Schambies View Post
    Great advice! I really want to emphasise the locking of the centre diff in 4x4 vehicles. Some folks think it will cause damage but it doesn't, at least not in a noticeable way. Driving with 4x4 engaged on gravel increases stability tenfold
    When told, that on several permanent 4WD vehicles locking of the centre differential would have a negative impact due to associated systems not working, you said:
    Quote Originally Posted by Schambies View Post
    Yeah i agree. I was talking about part-time 4wd vehicles like most bakkies, jimnys etc.
    Now most part time 4x4 vehicles I am aware of, like bakkies but also many SUVs, don't have a centre differential to begin with. No differential means there is nothing to lock.
    Now I am wondering what you were actually trying to say?
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  21. #36
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    Default Re: A Guide To Gravel Travel

    Quote Originally Posted by HugoNotte View Post
    You mentioned that locking the centre differential on 4x4 vehicles is important on gravel roads:

    When told, that on several permanent 4WD vehicles locking of the centre differential would have a negative impact due to associated systems not working, you said:


    Now most part time 4x4 vehicles I am aware of, like bakkies but also many SUVs, don't have a centre differential to begin with. No differential means there is nothing to lock.
    Now I am wondering what you were actually trying to say?
    How would you engage 4wd on a part time system without a center lock?

  22. #37
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    Default Re: A Guide To Gravel Travel

    Quote Originally Posted by Schambies View Post
    How would you engage 4wd on a part time system without a center lock?
    Lol sorry, I got confused, on part time it would be a transfer case I do agree that on newer full 4wds the traction control is preferable to a locked centre diff. But on a defender, for example, at higher speeds it would be beneficial in my experience

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  24. #38
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    Default Re: A Guide To Gravel Travel

    Quote Originally Posted by Schambies View Post
    Lol sorry, I got confused, on part time it would be a transfer case I do agree that on newer full 4wds the traction control is preferable to a locked centre diff. But on a defender, for example, at higher speeds it would be beneficial in my experience
    Yes, I agree. In the good old permanent 4WD vehicles without electronics, locking the centre diff makes sense on gravel. The main thing is, centre diff or not, that in 4x4 the torque to the wheels is about half of that in 4x2.
    This makes a difference to the road surface and gives more margin before traction is lost.
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  25. #39
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    Default Re: A Guide To Gravel Travel

    I have been reading the comments with great interest and must thank everyone for the comments, suggestions and on the whole good advice.
    Whist reading this thread I was thinking back to distant long gone times when cousins and I would spend as much time as we could with uncles driving on their daily chores on the farm in Namakwaland. It got me to thinking about what they did. Those days was all dirt roads. They must have observed some of these rules, but came to the conclusion we were really too young to have taken much notice. We were just to happy to be out with the uncles. Took me down memory lane and a healthy dose of nostalgia. Eish. Happy times.
    So moving to current times. Yes I wish more people would read these rules and take more care. Here in Zim, on the roads, particularly the old strip roads that have been filled in, and here I am thinking particularly of the road to Kezi, the general rule seems to be, the person with the bigger car has right of way. Makes for some interesting times.
    But I digress. So just want to say that after reading this I will definitely pay more attention to where we are driving and be more curtious. Having said that, a few weeks back I was in Matopas, driving on a very narrow road from one of the lodges, when we met a fellow guest coming the other way in a Toyota Vitz, well there was no plan for him to move, so I stopped, reversed back to an opening, pulled off and let him pass. The next morning at breakfast he came and thanked me. Some people in this country still have manners. And the next time I pass a homestead on a dirt road I will definitely slow down. Who knows it may be a customer and one definitely does not want gritty coffee.
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  27. #40
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    Default Re: A Guide To Gravel Travel

    To me locking any sort of diff at high speed makes no sense. It will basically reduce traction due to the tyres wanting to travel at different speeds around corners now they cant so they produce a slip effect on the surface they are traveling on to release pressure and to keep the same rotation speeds.
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