Pickup fire reminder to air down, avoid soft sand when driving on Outer Banks beaches

A pickup truck burst into flames on the beach north of Corolla on Aug. 12, 2021. [photo courtesy Kelly Thompson/Corolla Beach Idiots Facebook]

A pickup truck caught on fire while driving on the beach along the Currituck Outer Banks on Thursday, and is a good reminder of what to do and what not to do when driving in the sand.

The incident happened at Currituck mile post 17 north of Corolla village. Everyone on board the truck escaped without injury and the vehicle was a total loss, according to Corolla Beach Cletus, administrator of the Corolla Beach Idiots Facebook page.

Despite nearly a foot of rain last week, this week’s hot temperatures and breezy conditions on the Outer Banks have allowed the sand from the state line to Ocracoke to become like sugar.

Drive in the ruts created by other vehicles or closer to the waters edge where the tide has packed down the sand, and keep your speed below 25 mph.

Driving in soft sand puts extra strain on the motor, drivetrain, transmission and axles of even the toughest off-road vehicle, especially if you don’t drop the air pressure in all four tires to below 20 psi.

Airing down is the easiest way to not only avoid getting stuck or damaging your vehicle. And it also required by Currituck County ordinance for their beaches, and National Park Service regulations for Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

A tow strap and shovel are not only good items to have with you in case you get stuck, but are also required by the Park Service.

Driving on the beach dates back to when there were no paved roads on the Outer Banks.

Anyone with a four-wheel drive vehicle can operate on the beaches north of Corolla, which is the only way to reach the villages of Swan Beach and Carova Beach.

But to park on the Currituck beaches, a county permit is required that can be obtained at the visitor centers in Corolla and Moyock.

Driving on the beaches of Southern Shores, Duck and Kitty Hawk is banned year-round. Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head allow beach driving from October through April with a town permit.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore requires a permit available at Recreation.gov to drive on their beaches throughout the year, and only designated parts of the beaches along Bodie, Hatteras and Ocracoke islands are open to vehicles.

This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.