Responsible 4X4 Driving Guide


Travel with minimum impact

  • Keep to the defined track. Detour only to pass immovable obstructions.
  • Be critical of your own driving ability and equipment when assessing an obstruction; it is your right to abate a non-lawful obstruction, but do not commit yourself to a bigger task than you are equipped for.
  • When travelling in groups, keep to a small number – four or less. Split larger parties up and either use a different route or allow a good interval to elapse before following.
  • Use a winch only with extreme caution and if circumstances demand it. Ensure you use only the correct equipment and techniques.
  • Avoid mud. Where the surface may easily be damaged, be very gentle on the throttle to avoid wheel spin.
  • Never drive on moors and marshland.
  • Practice minimum impact driving at all times.

Respect the environment and the rights of others

  • Practice driving as quietly as you can.
  • Be considerate of other users at all times.
  • If your right to travel is challenged, discuss; if not resolved, then leave as requested until status is rechecked.
  • Travel at a quiet and unobtrusive pace and as slowly as practicable; we recommend a maximum speed of 12mph when driving on an unsealed Right of Way.
  • Avoid damage to trees, hedgerows and boundaries. Some roads carry vehicular rights but may be too narrow for your vehicle.
  • Be courteous to other road users – pull over and stop your vehicle for walkers, cyclists and horse riders, switch off your engine for the latter.
  • Thank people that move over to let you pass.
  • Watch out for injured or trapped animals, and report all suspicious events to the landowner.

Educate yourself, plan and prepare before you go

  • Ensure you have up to date maps.
  • Before setting out to remote area’s check the weather forecast and let someone else know where you are going and when you are likely to return.
  • Ensure you have adequate fuel for the journey and check all levels before settling out.
  • Never enter private property without permission of the land owner.
  • If in any doubt walk a route prior to driving it, to determine its ability to sustain traffic, if in any doubt turn back.
  • Ensure your vehicle is maintained to a high order and up to the task.
  • Avoid travelling alone.
  • Maintain a reasonable distance between vehicles.
  • Wildlife faces many threats and many Unsealed Rights of Way are valuable habitats, take care at all times and be particularly watchful in spring and summer. Avoid area’s of special scientific interest
  • Study the Country Code and follow it at all times.

Always leave the countryside at least as good as you found it

  • Do not travel on any Unsealed Right of Way when they risk being affected beyond a point of natural recovery once the weather improves.
  • Do not use any Unsealed Right of Way that may be damaged by the wheel pressure applied by your vehicle.
  • Gates that are secured open should be left so, all gates that are found closed or swinging open should be closed behind you.
  • Travel within existing wheel tracks, never create new ones. Where several exist search out the original route.
  • Take your litter home with you.
  • Carry a bin bag and collect any litter you may see along the way.
  • Do not scare livestock or wildlife.
  • Do all you can to avoid polluting any water ways.


Discover the countryside responsibly

  • Use only rights of way with known, proven or provable vehicular rights.
  • Report any obstructions to a Rights of Way to the highways authority.
  • If the route is not obvious on the ground, ask locally, or check on the maps held at the highways authority offices, or consult with Tread Lightly representatives.
  • Ensure your vehicle is fully road legal. Rights of Way are subject to the same laws as normal sealed roads.
  • Do not practice recovery techniques on any public Right of Way.
  • Keep children and dogs under supervision.
  • Guard against all risks of fire.
  • Clean down front and rear vehicle lights and number plate before returning to the highway.
  • Respect the environment and all other users. Common sense and common courtesy will ensure a future for our lanes.

Powered by and