Jeep certainly knows how to make vehicles designed for beach living and driving. The Jeep Wrangler is one of their flagship models and makes the top ten of most 4×4 enthusiasts. Can the same be said for its stablemate, the Jeep Compass? The Jeep Compass competes in the compact sports utility vehicle segment and not the off-road segment like its famous brother, the Jeep Wrangler.
Rated against other compact SUV’s the Jeep Compact is not so highly regarded and only ranks fifteenth against other models on the beach. However, it is a vehicle with great off-road capability but is held back by an underpowered engine and unengaging handling. In the hands of a good driver that understands the basic safety principles of beach driving, the Jeep Compass is safe.
If you own a Jeep Compass or are considering buying one to drive it on the beach, let us consider both the vehicle and what constitutes safe driving on the beach.
What is Safe Beach Driving, and can the Jeep Compass do it?
Driving on beach sand requires a unique set of driver skills. If you expect your vehicle to behave the same on the sand as it does on a firm surface, you are in for a rude surprise. Driving on the beach can be a lot of fun, but knowing the essential skills of beach driving will help to ensure you enjoy your trip.
Just to be safe, we recommend bringing these Traction Tracks (link to Amazon) just in case
Before driving on a beach, first, establish whether beach driving is allowed on that beach; alternatively, where is a beach near you where beach driving is allowed. A list of beach driving safety tips has been developed. We will look at each one and see how it pertains to the Jeep Compass.
- Safety First – The first step to avoid getting into trouble is to be continually conscious of your safety and the safety of passengers and others on the beach.
- Do not overload the vehicle. The Jeep Compass can seat five people with comfort.
- Do not make sudden turns, as this could lead to rollovers. Even in the best 4×4’s, this is foolhardy.
- Stay on the tracks of other vehicles, especially when crossing dunes. The sand is more compact, and you will not be creating new damage to the ecosystem.
- Stay alert and look out for other vehicles, beachgoers, and wildlife. The sound of the surf may drown out the sound of your vehicle and may prevent people from hearing your vehicle approach.
- Indicate when overtaking, just as you would on the road. Make sure that the driver of the vehicle you are about to overtake has seen your signal.
- Driving through washed-out areas can be very dangerous. Approach them slowly as they may be deeper than they appear. If you are unsure, stop and walk around the washout to ensure that you can make a safe crossing.
- Abide by the speed limit. The golden rule of 4×4 driving is to drive as slow as possible but as fast as necessary. Driving on sand is tricky as you must keep up the vehicle’s momentum to avoid getting stuck, but not at an unsafe speed.
- Seat belts must be worn at all times by drivers and passengers. The Jeep Compass is equipped with seat belts for the driver and four passengers.
- Do not drink alcohol before or during your beach drive. The major cause of driving accidents remains driver intoxication.
- If you are tired, take a break or let another capable person drive.
- Engage four-wheel drive mode before driving onto the soft beach sand. The Jeep Compass has a good four-wheel-drive system where the driver can select drive mode based on the surface. Auto, Snow, Sand, and Mud settings are available on most models.
- Keep your momentum when driving on soft sand. Use lower gears when driving on soft sand, ensuring that the engine revolutions remain high and keep the vehicle yfrom stalling.
- Deflate your tires before driving onto soft sand. Deflating the tires will increase the tire footprint on the sand and help prevent the tires from sinking into the soft sand and getting bogged down. Remember to re-inflate your tires before driving on hard surfaces.
- When parking on the beach, park in such a way that your vehicle is well visible to other drivers. Park away from the traffic zone.
- Always give way to vehicles going downhill, vehicles with trailers, pedestrians, and wildlife.
Here’s a quick video showing an off-road sand test of the Jeep Compass:
Avoid Getting Your Jeep Compass Bogged Down
A reputable 4×4 review stated that the Jeep Compass 2021 model had very good off-road capability but was underpowered.
You should be aware of this when driving on soft beach sand. Ensure that you keep up the vehicle’s forward momentum by staying in a lower gear with the revolutions of the engine kept high. It might feel that you are over-revving the engine, but this is required to prevent you from getting bogged down.
We always bring these Traction Tracks (link to Amazon) in case we get stuck in the sand.
How does Lower Tire Pressure Help You when Driving on the Beach?
Lowering the tire pressure increases the size of the tire footprint on the sand, helping to spread the vehicle’s weight over a larger area and preventing the tires from sinking into soft sand.
The Jeep Compass has a tire pressure monitoring system that measures the pressure and alerts the driver of the inflation pressures. The driver must remember to lower the tire pressure to 18 to 26 psi before driving onto the soft beach sand.
It is also critically important to re-inflate the tires before driving on the highway. High-speed driving on under-inflated tires can lead to the tires overheating and may cause a blowout.
What Tools to Have in Your Jeep Compass when Driving on the Beach
The Jeep Compass is very capable of driving on the beach and coping with soft sand. If you keep up your momentum while driving, keeping your engine revolutions high in low gear, you should not get stuck.
Always be prepared and carry a shovel, a first aid kit, and some sand track boards with you in the car. It is also good to practice getting unstuck from sand using your shovel and sand track boards.
- Be prepared for getting stuck when going onto the beach.
- Stay calm and try to gain traction slowly.
- Kicking up sand will only get the tires dug in even further.
- Remove sand in front of the tires using the shovel.
- Place the sand track boards in front of the spinning tires.
- Then carefully move forward until the tires are on the sand track boards.
- Ask the passengers to help push the vehicle, but warn them not to be directly behind the tires as items might be kicked back that could injure them.
The Jeep Compass is not highly rated against other vehicles in the compact SUV segment. However, it is a good off-road vehicle and comes from the Jeep stable that is highly regarded as a leader in off-roading.
The Jeep Compass can be safely driven on the beach if the driver is confident with driving on sand and adheres to the basic safety guideline.
The Jeep Compass is somewhat underpowered, but the driver can compensate for this. If you own a Jeep Compass or are considering buying one to use it on the beach, be aware that there are better options for this.
If, however, you only occasionally want to drive your Jeep Compass on the beach, know that you can do so safely.