When shopping for a new or used vehicle, many people consider the capabilities of 4 wheel drive. Whether you are looking to traverse tough terrain, tow heavy loads, or just drive in snow and ice, 4 wheel drive can be an invaluable asset. Knowing how fast you can safely travel while driving in 4 wheel drive is important if you want to take advantage of this feature without endangering yourself or others.
What Is A 4 Wheel Drive Vehicle?
A 4 wheel drive vehicle is one that uses all four wheels to transfer the power of the engine to the ground and assist with acceleration, deceleration and cornering. This type of system uses a transfer case which sends engine power from the transmission through a set of gears which then splits it up so that it is sent out evenly to each axle and driveshaft connected to each pair of wheels. The torque split between the front and rear axles as well as between left and right wheels can vary based on your driving needs such as terrain, road conditions, etc., making it an extremely versatile mode of transportation.
Speed Regulations by State
The speed limits imposed by law depend on where you are driving as well as what type of 4WD vehicle you are using. In most states, the speed limit for 4 wheel drive vehicles is the same as it is for other types of cars and trucks. However, some states have specific speed limits in place for 4WD vehicles. For example, in California, the maximum speed limit while driving a 4WD vehicle is 55mph while other types of vehicles may go up to 65mph in certain areas.
Other Tips for Driving In 4WD
In addition to obeying state laws regarding speed limits when driving a 4 wheel drive vehicle, it’s important to follow these safety tips:
Be aware of your tires and make sure that they are properly inflated and are suitable for off-roading if needed.
Make sure your brakes and suspension systems are functioning properly before driving on any terrain or roadways.
When traveling at higher speeds on dry pavement, reduce your speed if you start to feel excessive vibration from the wheels or suspension system as this could be a sign that something isn’t operating correctly which could cause damage or an accident.
Avoid making sudden braking maneuvers in wet conditions as this can cause hydroplaning which can lead to loss of control.
Make sure you are familiar with the different drive modes your vehicle may have so that you can make the most of your 4 wheel drive system to deal with various terrain and road conditions.
Having a 4 wheel drive vehicle can be an asset when driving in tough terrain or wet/icy conditions, but it’s important to remember that you still need to obey speed laws and follow other safety tips while driving in 4WD. Be aware of state laws regarding speed limits for 4WD vehicles as well as other safety tips such as proper tire inflation, understanding your brakes and suspension systems, avoiding sudden braking maneuvers, and familiarizing yourself with different drive modes. Following these tips will help ensure a safe and enjoyable ride while taking advantage of the capabilities of your 4 wheel drive vehicle.