How to get your car out of a sand dune

How to in the UAE: Experts advise on ways of getting your car out of a sand dune and how to avoid getting stuck in the first place.

Sharjah, July 29, 2011 - James Gayan drives his Chevy Tahoe SUV up a dune in what is known as the Pyramids a few kilometers from the Hatta/Oman road 70 kilometers east of Dubai near the village of Tawi Nizwa, Sharjah, July 29, 2011. (Jeff Topping/The National)
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Most of the UAE's soil is desert sand, so getting stuck in sand dunes here is fairly common.

The most important reminder is to avoid panicking and accelerating, experts say.

"That makes your car sink more," said Mohammad Yasser, an off-road specialist at Dubai's Extreme Adventures. "So the first thing to do is get out of your car and check your four tyres."

The next step involves deflating your tyres by more than 50 per cent.

"Then you get more traction and the tyre becomes wider," Mr Yasser said. "Then, you should not increase your RPM over two and push on the accelerator slowly."

The car will then start moving slowly. For SUVs, an important step is to shift the car to "4-low" wheel drive instead of "4-high". Another technique is to keep switching the vehicle from first gear into reverse.

To avoid getting stuck in the first place, drivers should steer clear from any sand patches on the left or right hand side of the road. "They might look hard, but the moment you drive over them, your vehicle might sink," said Mr Yasser. "It's hard to see with your naked eye if the patch is hard or soft, so the best thing to do is step out of your vehicle, walk on the patch and check if it's hard enough to drive over."

The rules apply to both sedans and SUVs.

* Emergency numbers to call if stuck in the desert: Dubai Police: 04 229 2222/ Abu Dhabi Police: 999