How Off-Roading Works

Green Laning

Land Rover learning to off-road
Cruising through the "Land Rover Experience Center" in Wuelfrath, Germany, looks pretty fun. These centers teach off-road driving skills to amateur and pro drivers.
AP Photo/Michael Sohn

Green laning is typically the mildest, least technical type of off-roading. It involves driving anywhere without a paved road -- usually forest trails, the countryside or on roads that have fallen into disrepair. The name green laning comes from the fact that the path you're driving on is likely to have lots of natural (green) vegetation. Many people enjoy green laning because of the adventure and scenery involved in taking a trip off the beaten path, but without risking too much damage to their vehicle.

Green laning does have a reputation for causing another type of damage: damage to the environment. If the driver isn't careful, driving in the wilderness can harm plant life, tear up paths used for horseback riding and cycling, erode the ground and scare or harm wildlife. For these reasons, it's important to know the laws where you go off-roading, as well as take care not to cause unnecessary damage to the natural environment. You can minimize your impact by driving slowly and always being aware of where your tires are falling.


Off-roading enthusiasts like green laning because it usually requires few or no vehicle modifications in order to enjoy it. In most cases, no special tires are needed. You'll still want a higher-riding car, however, because there's a good chance of encountering small rocks and hills that a lower car might not be able to clear. Green laning is also great for four-wheelers and dirt bikes.

Holes and ditches pose the biggest threats in this type of off-roading. When approaching a ditch, you want to approach at an angle, not head-on. That way, one tire at a time will cross it, while the other three remain on a surface where they have traction. Approaching any obstacle head-on could mean that both of your front tires will lose traction at the same time, which could cause you to slip. The same is true for any obstacles you might come across, including logs and rocks.

If green laning seems too mild, read on to learn about rock crawling, arguably the most challenging type of off-roading there is.