Once the Jeep’s capability is determined, you should walk through the water you plan on crossing, taking note of the depth, floor stability and any obstacles in the path. This pre-run is important because serious obstacles like boulders, tree trunks or foreign debris might cause serious damage to your tires or underbody. Remember, all these elements will not be visible while crossing and you are often doing so blindly. Typically you should look to cross along the edges or shore line where the water isn’t as deeper and the floor isn’t as soft. Crossing through the middle often leads to muddier conditions that you could get stuck in. Once you begin crossing, its important to go at a slow steady pace, creating a wave in front of the jeep. Its also critical not to go fast or stop if at all possible, these sudden motions will cause water to splash and for waves to flow back into the Jeep, raising the level of water.
Once crossed, it’s important to keep the engine running and allow the water to drain. Check that the brakes are still working, as water could have gotten between the pads and rotors. If water came into the cabin, lift the carpet and remove the drain plugs, so it could properly drain. Once everything has drained, do a walk through to inspect any damage that might have occurred while crossing. When you are comfortable there is no significant damage and the Jeep is safe to drive, you can continue on the trail. Finally, it’s important to also keep in mind of your environmental impact, especially when crossing lakes. Exposure or chemical leaks could be deadly to wildlife. Also, avoid disturbing natural damns or re-routing of water. As always, tread lightly and have fun.