Beach warning to 4WD owners ahead of busy Easter weekend: 'No idea what they're doing'

An Aussie who makes a living out of rescuing bogged 4WDs said people need to be aware of the dangers.

Aussie four-wheel-driving enthusiasts are being warned to practise caution this Easter long weekend as experts reveal an increase in cars becoming bogged on the sand due to people "really having no idea at all what they're doing".

Western Australian man Peter Fullarton, of 4WD Recovery and Charters, said "inexperienced" drivers often end up in need of help and require rescuing due to misconceptions over four wheel driving. He said "there's a perception" that a four-wheel drive "is a magic carpet and it can take you anywhere" — but that's not always the case.

"Some of the biggest mistakes people make is tyre pressures are too hard," Fullarton told the ABC. "They use their right foot too much, use too much accelerator in soft sand and they're just digging themselves in.

Peter Fullarton, from a 4WD recovery business is pictured on a WA beach, while inset is a recovery operation for a bogged 4WD.
Peter Fullarton from WA said often people attempting to four-wheel drive on the beach have 'no idea what they're doing'. Source: ABC

Aussie man warns over 'simple mistakes' 4WDs make on the sand

"I got into the four-wheel drive recovery [business] because I could see the need that there was a lot of people that were having a lot of trouble on the beach, and I could teach them some simple, basic driving skills and that'd [help them to] do a lot better on the beach.

Fullarton said he believes that "a lot of people these days haven't had the experience of their father or their grandfather" teaching them how to drive on the beach, like in his day.

"So [people] go out, they buy a brand new four-wheel drive, they get down to the beach and they really have no idea at all what they're doing," he said. "And they get on the beach and their tyres are too hard, they're driving the wrong ways."

A submerged grey 4WD ute on Bribie Island.
Rick Williams said that beach rescues have increased lately as severe weather batters Queensland. Source: Facebook / AAA 4WD Beach & Offroad Recovery

People have 'no idea what they're doing', expert says

He explained modern cars have a lot of "these driver assists that aren't really that helpful in the sand" and new cars don't have the ground clearance. "They're heavier because of all the safety requirements, with airbags and all that sort of stuff," he said. "The tyres are road tyres, they don't necessarily have all the traction and that, that they want on the sand as well."

Fullarton's advice comes following a number of recent 4WD boggings across the country, with people from Western Australia to Queensland requiring help getting off the sand.

Range of 4WD incidents taking place across Australia

Earlier this month, Rick Williams based on Bribie Island, told Yahoo he'd been called to a skyrocketing number of beach rescues as storms batter Queensland, filling up lagoons that spill out and cause hazardous conditions for those venturing onto the sand in their vehicle.

A ute that was towed on Bribie Island after becoming bogged.
To be towed back to safety, it can cost anywhere between $200 to $700. Source: Facebook / AAA 4WD Beach & Offroad Recovery

On March 5, a man's Toyota Land Cruiser became half submerged in the water after only having been on the beach "for five minutes". Williams said although he's "helped a lot of locals over the years" he's also rescued tourists "from really almost every country around the world".

Also in March, a popular Aussie beach spot that's been "smashed" by four-wheel drivers of late announced it may soon charge for vehicle access to the sand, after visitors left behind mountains of rubbish, vandalised bathrooms, parked where they shouldn't and mistreated public amenities.

A driver that raced through raging currents in their four-wheel on Bribie Island.
A driver that raced through raging currents in their four-wheel drive has attracted criticism. Source: Facebook

In February, a motorist was filmed driving through a channel of water that suddenly formed after a lagoon broke its banks. The driver was slammed for the "dangerous" act, as experts warn people not to try to emulate similar stunts.

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