Driving a Land Rover

The controls of a Land Rover 110 and its contemporaries are similar to those of a car, with the addition of the transfer lever, which selects high or low ranges of gears, and engages and disengages the central differential lock.

The differential lock prevents loss of power on both axles if a wheel on one axle begins to spin. For most off-road use, it's not necessary to lock the differential, but it should be locked when you get to a slippery surface; on-road, it should certainly be free-running, as locking it would result in increased tyre wear and wind-up of the transmission. You should also lock it on terrain on which you are likely to lift a wheel in the air.

Thumb safety

When driving off-road, never put your thumbs through the steering wheel, but always along it. It can move suddenly and the spokes could injure your thumbs if they hit them.

The transmission brake

One control that is very different in its mechanism from the car equivalent is the handbrake. This is a transmission brake, on the rear transmission shaft just behind the gearboxes, and must not be applied when the vehicle is moving, however slowly.

Use of mirrors

It's a good idea to use the wing mirrors to position yourself in the road, that is, watch how far you are from the kerb, verge or hedge (or whatever the road edge is) in one, and how from the centre line (or the other side of the road) in the other; those only used to driving cars may not be in the habit of doing this. It's also as well to use them to watch the rear of your vehicle through a tight corner.

The wing mirrors allow much easier reversing into tight spaces than twisting your head to look backwards does. (This goes for all kinds of vehicles; but many people in Britain are taught to turn their head for reversing, which is not actually a good way to do it. I didn't learn otherwise until I learnt to drive trucks. Having learnt it, I find I can drive backwards through or into narrower gaps than I can drive into forwards.)

John C. G. Sturdy
[John's home] Last modified: Sun Jun 10 22:10:12 GMT Daylight Time 2007