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Trax & Trails, Cornwall & Devon 4x4 Driving Days, Training Courses and 4x4 Lessons

Trax & Trails, Cornwall & Devon 4x4 Driving Days, Training Courses and 4x4 Lessons

Trax & Trails - Case Studies

Case Study 2

A power cable maintenance company found they were having a significant number of off-road accidents. Investigation revealed that these accidents were caused by driver error and vehicle problems.

Each work unit consisted of two or more vehicles with at least one towing a fully laden plant trailer. One was a Toyota Hilux pickup and a long wheel base Land Rover which due to capacity did towing duties.

The needs were to review off-road driving practice, route assessment and planning, compare the differences in each type of 4x4 and to work on identifying and resolving the most likely causes of the accidents.

We created a day session with more emphasis on multiple vehicle groups, covered theory of transmission types and suspension design as the two vehicles had different systems, tyre choice and basic daily maintenance checks. This was then followed by covering the off-road driving techniques as per Borda 1.

The accidents seemed to be caused by a combination of driver error and vehicle specification faults. The drivers all identified the Hilux as being the better 4wd vehicle "because it doesn't get stuck/fall over as often as the Land Rover". There were three obvious reasons for this.

  1. The Hilux had Mud tyres and the LR had road biased tread All-Terrains, despite coming from the same supplier on the same contract.
  2. The Land Rover was fully laden with people and equipment and was also pulling a fully laden trailer giving a total train weight in excess of published safe off-road maxima.
  3. The routes negotiated were inappropriate for the vehicles as specified. Management was notified of these findings and individual performance.

The one person who should have been required to attend this course didn't. Often the routes negotiated were inappropriate, or negotiated without consideration for changes in the weather. Each vehicle needed to be on proper mud tyres and the excessive weight of the total train needed to be split better between the available vehicles. The vehicle contract needed to be revisited to ensure appropriate tyres for both vehicle types.

One day course suited to both the Professional Driver and the Recreational Driver. Max 2:1 Delegate to Instructor ratio

The principle aims are ones of understanding, safety and awareness. The course starts with a Theory Session where the delegate will learn about four wheel drive systems, suspension design and tyres and how these effect the overall ability of a given vehicle. We then move onto identifying important aspects of the vehicles and safety checks. This part of the course enables a driver to assess a vehicles suitability for a given task.

The second part of the course concentrates on proper ground assessment and practice of specialist techniques for off-road situations. We will cover assessing, climbing, descending and recovery procedures for hills. Also side slopes, ridges, ditches and ruts are dealt with. All through the day personal safety and sympathy for the vehicle are stressed. At the end of the day are a quiz to check understanding and a brief set of course notes.

The outcome will be a driver who understands how to assess and safely drive in most UK off-road situations. They will also be able to judge when driving is not suitable or may risk unsustainable damage to environment and vehicle.


Two day course suited to Foremen/Leading Drivers, Solo Drivers or those who lead a group of vehicles. It can also be considered as the basis of a Train the Trainer scheme.

Day one follows Borda 1 with more emphasis on multi-vehicle groups and more awareness of how different 4WD would manage obstacles.

Day two starts with a further, short, theory session on advanced mechanics followed by more advanced off-road techniques and practice. The final part is an assessment where each delegate will walk and assess an unseen part of the site and proved details of all the issues, risks and techniques along with route planning before finally driving the chosen route.

This is followed by a debrief of practice versus expectations. This final section can be completed as either an "Attended" status or at extra cost "Accessed" status with a Pass of Fail result.


We can assist in providing a Course designed to your specific needs through Training Needs Analysis (with on-site assessment if required) or via discussion. We can provide both on-road (with an Approved Driving Instructor) and off-road requirements.

Shirley & Paul Bruna, Trax and Trails, South Alston, Stoke Climsland, Callington, Cornwall, PL17 8LX. Tel. 07989 388530
West Country off road 4x4 driving & driver training for Devon and Cornwall plus clay pigeon shooting & archery
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