Important Off-Road Techniques – How to Safely Pull Away!


Off-roading with a truck or Jeep is all about traction and maintaining it in different situations.

The last thing that should be done when pulling away on an incline or uneven terrain is to spin tires and lose traction, stall the engine, or roll backward, making it harder to get going forward again.

Pulling away with a truck or Jeep on an incline safely and effectively takes some practice and knowing the right technique to use.

If problems are encountered when pulling away that ends up in rolling backwards or the wheels spin before moving, try these helpful tips!

What Not To Do When Pulling Away on An Incline

When learning to pull away on the level or on an uphill incline, there are two things that definitely should not be done:

  1. Don’t use the handbrake at all, as it only holds the rear wheels still. Engage only the brake pedal when the vehicle is at a stop.
  2. Don’t let the truck or Jeep roll backwards by releasing the brake before being ready to move forward using one of the below techniques.

With An Automatic Transmission

Pulling away with an automatic truck or Jeep is pretty simple as the transmission itself will help somewhat.

If encountering even a little bit of rollback, use this two-foot method even with an automatic when off-road or on an incline to pull away safely without rolling back or spinning tires:

  • Keep your foot on the brake to hold the truck or Jeep still until it’s moving forward.
  • Put the vehicle in low gear, especially if facing uphill as starting in a higher gear could cause the engine to stall while pulling away.
  • Once in gear, press lightly on the throttle and start easing off the brake, then increase the throttle and pull away.
  • If starting to roll backward, apply the brake again and try once more, this time using a little more throttle before taking your foot off the brake.

With A Manual Transmission

Pulling away with a manual transmission truck or Jeep uses the same basic two-foot technique just like normal shifting with a manual.

The transition between the gas and brake is more critical since the manual transmission is more likely to roll back some if application of the gas is delayed.

With a manual transmission, use this technique to safely pull away without stalling or rolling back whether on the level or an incline:

  • Keep your foot on the brake to hold the truck or Jeep still until it is moving forward and then with your other foot, depress the clutch.
  • Put the vehicle in first gear, especially if facing uphill as starting in a higher gear with a manual is likely to cause the engine to stall on an incline.
  • Start slowly releasing the clutch just to the point where it can be felt grabbing enough to hold the vehicle in place and at the same time, slowly release the brake until ready to switch to the gas pedal.
  • With the clutch partially engaged, quickly move your brake foot to the gas pedal and apply pressure to increase the revs of the engine, then ease off the clutch so the transmission grabs and you roll forward, all of which must be done quickly to prevent the vehicle from rolling back or stalling.
  • If stalling happens, add more throttle to the truck or Jeep so there is enough power to get the vehicle moving forward without it rolling back or stalling again.
  • Once moving forward, add more throttle and then release the clutch completely which should be done as quickly as possible to avoid revving the engine too hard while the transmission is only partially engaged.

Practice Makes Perfect!

Though it is pretty easy to pull away from a dead stop when on a flat street, doing so off-road on uneven terrain or a hill is a little challenging.

It definitely involves some quick footwork and knowing how your truck or Jeep will react when gears are engaged and the gas and brake pedals are used to pull away.

Whether driving an automatic or a manual, these techniques that describe where your feet need to be and when should help help pull away safely without stalling or rolling back.

It will take a little practice, but once you learn just how much throttle to give your truck or Jeep and how far out to let the clutch, you can put aside that worry about rolling back and instead successfully drive up that hill without a hitch!

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