What to Be Prepared For When Renting a 4WD

Posted on: 19 June 2017

Renting a 4WD is a great choice for when you want to go off-roading, take your vehicle on a beach, or hit rough roads along the outback, desert, or wooded area. Whatever your reasons for needing a four-wheel-drive versus a standard car or truck, note a few things you may need to be prepared for before your rental and during its use, so you can plan your schedule and your rental accordingly.

Safety and handling class

Some rental agencies will require you to take a quick course on how to handle their vehicles; this isn't an all-day class with bookwork and the like, but it may involve a review of safe braking and steering in soft soil and sand, and how to use the mirrors and other features in an oversized 4WD. You may also be required to take the vehicle out for a short test drive with the instructor, perhaps just around a parking lot or other roadway, before you are allowed to take it onto rough roads.

Note, too, that some areas you might visit may also require this type of course on safety handling of 4WD vehicles used on their beach or in a desert area. Whatever the case, always check on this before making your rental and ask about the length of the session, so you can plan your day accordingly.

Know the number and age of passengers

A 4WD doesn't necessarily mean seating for a large group; many 4WD vehicles will accommodate only three people in the backseat, and allow the driver and passenger up front, for five persons in total. There may also be age limits for passengers, as you may be required to have child safety seats for children and a 4WD may not be designed with these seats in mind. Some rental agencies may also have age limits on passengers, just to avoid liability in case of an accident. If you're travelling with family or a group, always ask about this, as you may need more than one vehicle and shouldn't assume you can just "cram" people in the back or hold a child on your lap.

International license

If you're coming from out of the country on holiday, you may be required to have an international driver's license for any vehicle rental. This is to ensure you can manage driving on a particular side of the road and understand all traffic laws and signage. When travelling abroad, ask about this when arranging for a 4WD rental.