This past weekend was the taste of Summer that everyone on Long Island needed. People flocked out to the beach, myself included. The drive on-beach was flooded with people fishing, surfing, and enjoying the sun. There were tons of Jeep Wranglers and other 4×4 vehicles.
Unfortunately some people were way more prepared than others. Driving through the cut to the Atlantic Ocean side of Democrat Point, I saw 4 vehicles that were frame deep in the sand blocking traffic. Not to mention the other 3 that I saw get stuck as I sat in my beach chair enjoying the ocean view. Those weren’t the only ones of the day either! In the Beach Hall of Shame Facebook group, these pictures of stuck vehicles were shared by members this weekend.
Yes, that is a Bentley SUV stuck in the sand. Not only is getting stuck on the sand insanely embarrassing, but it’s an issue that is easily preventable. Simply airing down tires could prevent most, if not all of the stuck vehicles I saw. This is a reoccurring issue every single year and it seems like people never learn.
Driving at high PSI causes tires to dig into the sand and not “float” on top of it.
The moment you get stuck you will see the sand spitting out from beneath your tires, just digging the wheels further into the sand. The main purpose of airing down is to give your tire a wider, softer, footprint that covers more surface area as you drive over the sand. Tires with higher psi will not grip and spin more. The more your tires spin, the more likely you are to start digging in the sand. Digging in the sand is deadly and will result in your frame sitting on the sand pretty quick.
Not only does your tires digging in the sand take a toll on your vehicle and it’s performance (it tends to run a little hotter on the beach), but it also ruins the sand and the beach. The ruts on the beach keep getting dug out because of drivers who drive on the beach without airing down to a lower psi. Simply lowering your psi to around 15 can help preserve the beach and your Jeep/truck. Don’t be the guy that ruins it for everyone.
Don’t drive on soft sand without airing down.
If you’ve ever driven on Daytona Beach, you’ll see Ford Mustangs, old Toyota Corollas, and even Harleys out driving on the beach. They drive there with no issues because the sand is so packed down. It is pretty comparable to a dirt road and not sand, that is until you get to the soft sand. If you see people stuck, it is mainly because they drove onto the soft sand.
The beaches on Long Island, Democrat Point, Gilgo Beach, and Sore Thumb, to name a few, are not like Daytona Beach. The sand is soft and you tires will dig the moment you hit the sand.
Keep your speed consistent while driving on the beach .
Constantly stopping and going can cause your tires to dig into the sand even if you are aired down, but becomes a huge issue when you are not aired down. This is especially true on inclines and declines. When you drive on the beach, pay attention to where you are driving and what you are driving on.
Staying in the ruts is a safe place to stay. It generally gets tough when a driver decides to stray from the path and cross over the tire ruts. This is because the sand is soft and because your tire doesn’t have a full footprint on the sand you are driving on.
Avoiding soft sand is easy on Long Island, just stay clear of the dunes and don’t get too close to the water. Easy enough right? Just avoiding the soft sand won’t save you if you do not air down. I really can’t stress that enough.
What do you need to air down? What do you need in case your truck get stuck on the beach?
I put together a view of some essential gear that is helpful when planning a trip on an off-road beach. It’s one thing to know what to do, but a whole other animal to be prepared to do it. Don’t be one of those people who know they should air down but don’t because they don’t have the equipment to air back up. Even if you take all the necessary planning measures, you can still get stuck. You should always be prepared for the worst case scenario.
If you’re stuck and don’t know where to look, check out the list I put together of tire deflators, jacks, tow straps, etc. Everything you need to air down and to rescue yourself is there! There are several examples of each, so you can pick which is your favorite! Trust me you do not want to be the guy who is stuck buried on the sand with no way out.
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