How can you minimise your impact on the countryside and other users when you’re out on the lanes? Or how about doing your bit to promote 4×4 use as an acceptable and sustainable pastime? Remember: You can be a responsible laner and still have a good time on the trail!
The following are ATUK’s suggestions to help you attain ‘low impact legend’ status in your 4×4. Most of it is just common sense and courtesy, but it would be beneficial to us all if we follow these guidelines:
- Only use rights of way that are open for public vehicular use.
- Where possible, use research and local knowledge to ensure that your chosen route is navigable.
- Consider walking unfamiliar lanes prior to driving – if in doubt do not continue, there’s always another day.
- Exercise caution when crossing fords. Assess depth, strength of current and ford surface prior to attempting a crossing. If in any doubt, best give it a miss.
- Take note and act on road signs and notices – they may indicate voluntary restraints, one way systems or a traffic regulation order (TRO).
- Respect other users, acknowledge their presence, slow down and give way. Be polite and courteous – even if they aren’t.
- When you meet a horse rider on the trail, best practice is to pull over as far as possible, turn engine off and allow them to pass. Wait until they are well clear before proceeding.
- You and your vehicle must be fully road legal. A current MOT, tax and insurance are a must. You must hold a valid UK driving licence.
- We advise against laning alone or as a single vehicle. Also, keep group sizes small, convoys of 4 to 6 with 4 in contentious areas
- Avoid lanes with vulnerable surfaces in wet conditions.
- Keep to the defined track, deviate only to avoid an obstruction.
- Clearing an obstruction (abatement) is a legal right, but only attempt this within your own capabilities and with tools or equipment that you would normally carry within your vehicle.
- Report any obstructions to your ATUK area representative and / or the local authority.
- Leave gates as you find them, unless there is a sign to say otherwise.
- Be aware of the vehicle behind you in a group, always indicate for junctions in plenty of time and wherever possible, don’t allow them to drop out of site.
- Travel at a slow, responsible speed dependant on road surface, conditions and visibility.
- Follow the Countryside Code. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-countryside-code/the-countryside-code
- Support local business wherever possible, be considerate when using facilities as a group – you are an ambassador for All Terrain UK and for recreational vehicle users as a whole. There you go…it’s not an exhaustive list, neither is it the law (well apart from the legal bits!). Most of you experienced laners will have been doing this stuff as a matter of course for years. Remember particular situations on the ground vary greatly, engage common sense at all times and above all – stay safe!