Saturday, April 14, 2012

Tips for Driving on the Beach in OBX and Corolla

This is the first thing we saw as we turned off the paved road onto the Corolla 4x4 beach this year. It's a very frequent sight. This time there were two stuck at the same time. Clint stopped, and we helped them. That's his shovel. The van was stuck repeatedly trying to get out. We can't figure out how he got so far down in the first place.
Use a 4WD vehicle. Period. Tow trucks are expensive, and there is usually a long wait.

All Wheel Drive is not 4WD.

Take a shovel and a strap or chain to pull with...just in case. If you don't need it, you might want to extend goodwill towards a stranded motorist or loan it to someone who can. Take a block of wood and a jack too.

Air down to the recommended psi. It not only gives you better traction, but it also takes some of the strain off of your transmission. Driving on sand is hard on your vehicle.

Have a full tank of gas, and bring something to drink and eat. There aren't any gas stations on the beach.

There is a rest stop (bathroom) and a picnic area on one of the roads behind the beach.

Drive like you have some common sense. There are often people including small children on the beach. Dogs may dart out from the dunes. Horses may come to play in the surf. Storms tear apart piers and houses, and there may be a board with a nail in it washed up with the tide. Not only is it safer to go slower, but it is easier on your vehicle. The recommended MAXIMUM speed is 25 mph. That means you should go slower in most areas. All road rules apply to the beach. Your 10 year old can not drive your truck! ALL normal road rules apply. You can get a ticket on the 4x4 beaches.

Driving is permitted 24/7. But...

Watch out for stumps. There is an old maritime forest called Wash Woods hiding in the sand. We have seen a Jeep get a little airborne from speeding through this area. This broke the seal on his tire and damaged his rim. Clint stopped and helped him too.

Ride in the tire tracks. It's easier.

You can not drive through to Virginia. We know of some locals that told a couple that one year. They were very upset because their AWD vehicle kept bogging down in the sand, and he could not get over the dunes. You can drive 12 miles down the beach, turn around, and come back.

You can put air into your tires at Wink's of Corolla at 1150 Ocean Trail Corolla, 27927‎. It is the closest place to put air in your tires. You may have to wait your turn. Many tell me they leave the air out of their tires during their entire visit, but I would rather keep the recommended air in my tires for road use.

There are more tips here:

Don't let your picture be on Oregon Inlet Idiots; do your homework before you drive on the sand.