Do you understand the angles of off-road driving? Read on to see the primary angles you encounter and use to your advantage off-road.

Approach Angle

Whether it is a pebble or a sheer rock face this is the one angle you cannot escape. If you drive a vehicle you have to deal with approach angle. For some, this may be trying to get a lowered import car over a speed bump for those who venture off-road it is most likely a good sized rock or uphill climb. More specifically it is the angle between the bumper and the tire hitting the obstacle.

You can see in the picture above that our approach angle is very steep and our Jeep can get the tires on an obstacle easily. The breakover angle and departure angle are hampered by the wheelbase and the low hanging tow hook and tailpipe.

Breakover Angle

Breakover angle is the maximum angle that you can drive over without the lowest point of the vehicle impacting the ground. The longer the wheelbase the less of a breaker angle you can tackle. Short wheelbase high center vehicles have a distinct advantage in these situations.

Departure Angle

Similar to Newtons “Law of Universal Gravity” what goes up an obstacle must then come off that obstacle. If the approach angle is the front then departure angle is the rear. That distance and angle from your tire to the bumper or another low hanging item. On a Jeep JK, it is usually the tailpipe, on other vehicles, it can be the hitch.

Tips and Tricks

Each of these angles can be improved on without parts, upgrades, and fancy wheels and tires. By using another angle and approaching an obstacle on a diagonal line you can improve all of these angles on your vehicle.

Check out the video below to see these techniques in action and further explanation from Kyle at Off Road Consulting.


Tell us what you think in the comments below, or on our YouTube channel! Stay tuned for more videos and off-road techniques.

Check out Rausch Creek Off Road park where these videos were shot.

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William Connor

As the Editor, William is responsible for all the good, the bad, the ugly and the indifferent that happens at 4WAAM. William brings a wide range of experience to this role. He also wields a freely shared...

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