Driving a buggy is synonymous with fun on wheels in any type of terrain, however, it is advisable to keep in mind several tips and basic rules on how to drive it so that the experience is positive from start to finish.
A buggy is an off-road vehicle designed to go up the mountain, along the beach along the coast, between dunes, or in meadows and fields.
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It is a type of recreational vehicle, so when you get to the controls of a buggy, what prevails, generally, is the fun. However, security should not be overlooked. For this reason, it is convenient to know how to drive a buggy, what license is needed, or what rules must be observed to be safe from accidents.
What is buggy?
A buggy is a vehicle with a light chassis, a body without a rigid roof, and four large wheels with wide tires, which is used mainly for traveling on sandy or mountainous terrain.
Buggies are normally made up of parts from another modified vehicle – such as the engine – mounted on an open chassis in order to increase the power-to-weight ratio.
The first known data on these vehicles date from the 1950s in California (United States). Those buggies were rough and heavy. They were made by hand by amateurs, who designed their vehicles in their own garages on the basis of a Volkswagen Beetle, and hence its name (from the English diminutive for “bug”: bug).
At that time that was a hobby of a few. We would have to wait until the sixties for the first original buggy to be born, lighter and more manageable. Bruce Meyers, who sold surfboards in Pismo Beach, California, got the idea after seeing a surfer cruising the dunes in a gutted Volkswagen Bettle.
This is how he began to make his work: a monocoque mounted on the axles and steering of a Beetle, fiberglass bodywork, an air-cooled boxer engine, and two seats. In 1964 he had it finished and named it Meyers Manx. By chance of fate, his wife told her colleagues at Road & Track magazine about the feat. And it seems that they liked it because a few days later, they took the buggy on the cover.
Currently, the users of this vehicle are those who enjoy fast and borderless driving, although there is also a large market share that uses them for work in the field, without forgetting that buggies are also widely used in the army thanks to its great maneuverability and power.
What license is needed to drive a buggy?
To drive a buggy it is essential to have a type B driving license which, in addition to enabling you to drive cars, allows you to drive other types of vehicles, among which are all microcars and vehicles that have been approved as quadricycles, that is, the two categories of light quadricycle (maximum weight of 350 kg and a maximum power of 4kW) and the normal quadricycle that can reach up to 550 kg maximum and power up to 15 kW (20 CV). Four-wheel buggy-type vehicles over 15 kW carry tourism homologation.
Is the use of a helmet mandatory?
The use of a helmet is mandatory for both quads and special vehicles such as buggies. This must be approved to guarantee the safety of the driver. To identify it, you have to look inside it, where a white label with the letter “E” and the number of the country where it has received the homologation should appear.
In addition, according to the General Directorate of Traffic, the helmet must be “integral with a visor or goggles to protect against mud and stones thrown by the vehicles in front (especially if going on roads)”, and it also recommends protecting yourself with gloves and bibs.
What you need to know about driving a buggy
Buggies tend to go unnoticed by other drivers due to their characteristics and because they are very close to the ground. When other vehicles are around, don’t assume that others can see you, so it’s always good to drive defensively.
Don’t make sharp turns, whether you’re going fast or slow, or on any kind of terrain. This can cause the buggy to tip over.
Pay the utmost attention to the vehicle’s reaction to understeer or oversteer ( we explain what these terms are here ). Practice the braking that is usually used in rallying, that is, pressing the brake with your left foot. Despite having less stability, strength is gained.
If you want to make jumps, the way to do it safely is to progressively increase your speed until you reach the one that allows you to take off and land without putting yourself in danger. The key is to release the accelerator a bit before taking the jump and to step on it again at the moment of crowning the obstacle.
If you drive on a beach, always do so on the routes intended for these vehicles. In this way, you will avoid the sand dunes, but above all, cross with pedestrians.
Finally, remember that the use of the mobile phone while driving or taking the controls under the influence of alcohol is prohibited.