Operate four-wheel drive vehicle

This Course involves the skills and knowledge required to operate a four-wheel drive vehicle safely in a range of conditions in accordance with the relevant state/territory legislated roads and traffic licence requirements. course includes driving a four-wheel drive vehicle on roads, traversing gradients, ascending and descending steep gradients, and operating in rugged terrain. It also includes using vehicle equipment/controls and completing pre- and post-operational checks. Recognised driver’s licence or provisional car licence must be held prior to commencing this unit of competency. Driving involves the application of four-wheel drive vehicle operating principles and procedures to maintain the safety and operation of a four-wheel drive vehicle across a variety of on-road and off-road contexts. Driving is performed with limited supervision, and with duty of care responsibility for self and others in achieving the prescribed outcomes. No licensing, legislative or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication


Evidence required to demonstrate competence in this unit must be relevant to and satisfy all of the requirements of the elements and performance criteria on at least one occasion and include:

  • applying relevant legislation and workplace procedures
  • cleaning and storing vehicles and equipment
  • communicating effectively with others
  • completing relevant documentation
  • conducting pre-start checks
  • demonstrating low-risk driving behaviours
  • identifying and correcting minor operational faults
  • identifying job hazards and taking required action
  • implementing contingency plans
  • interpreting and following operational instructions and prioritising work
  • modifying activities depending on operational contingencies, risk situations and environments
  • reporting and/or rectifying identified problems, faults or malfunctions promptly, in accordance with regulatory requirements and workplace procedures
  • reading and interpreting relevant instructions, procedures, information and signs
  • using and adjusting vehicle equipment/controls as required:
  • brakes
  • electronic traction control
  • freewheeling hubs
  • gears/range
  • heating and cooling systems
  • jacks
  • tyres

working systematically with required attention to detail without injury to self or others, or damage to goods or equipment.


Evidence required to demonstrate competence in this unit must be relevant to and satisfy all of the requirements of the elements and performance criteria and include knowledge of:

  •  documentation and record keeping requirements
  • effect of hard surface driving (such as transmission wind up) on a 4×4 system
  • effect of loads while negotiating a gradient
  • effect on centre of gravity of changing fluid loads
  • efficient driving techniques and safe driving strategies
  • environmental impact of 4×4 driving
  • hazards and risks associated with traversing cross gradients
  • hazards that may exist when operating a four-wheel drive vehicle in on-road and off-road situations, and action to minimise, control or eliminate identified hazards
  • low risk driving behaviours:
  • creating and maintaining crash avoidance space
  • protecting crash avoidance space
  • road rules and directions
  • space and time management
  • pre- and post-operational checks and related action
  • problems that may occur when operating a four-wheel drive vehicle, and action that can be taken to report or resolve the problems
  • relevant land management procedures and regulations
  • relevant state/territory road traffic authority road rules, regulations, permit and licence requirements
  • relevant work health and safety (WHS)/occupational health and safety (OHS) and environmental procedures and regulations
  • vehicle equipment/controls, instruments and indicators, and their use
  • vehicle handling procedures and techniques for a range of road and track conditions

workplace procedures for operating a four-wheel drive vehicle in both on-road and off-road situations.


As a minimum, assessment must satisfy applicable regulatory requirements, which include requirements in the Standards for Registered Training Organisations current at the time of assessment. Assessment must occur in workplace operational situations, where it is appropriate to do so; where this is not appropriate, assessment must occur in simulated workplace operational situations that replicate workplace conditions in a four-wheel drive vehicle typical of that used in industry. Assessment processes and techniques must be appropriate to the language, literacy and numeracy requirements of the work being performed and the needs of the candidate.
Resources for assessment include:

  • a range of relevant exercises, case studies and/or simulations
  • applicable documentation including workplace procedures, regulations, codes of practice and operation manuals
  • relevant materials, tools, equipment and personal protective equipment currently used in industry.

A simulator/online assessment is not suitable for the final assessment of this unit of competency.


This course is delivered over one 8-hour day. The course is run with a candidate to assessor ratio of 3-1. The course includes the following:


Two-hour PowerPoint presentation covering:

  • Prestart/post operational checks – load security/fault finding
  • Legal requirements and company policy/procedure – land access
  • Defensive driving techniques – night driving/animals/wet roads/environmental impacts
  • Journey management – fatigue/communication
  • Four-wheel drive systems
  • Off road driving techniques – terrain/mud/sand
  • On/off road driving techniques – hazard identification

This is followed by a one hour written exam on the theory content.


  • The practical element of this course includes the following:
  • Prestart/post operational checks – load security/fault repair
  • Journey management
  • Driving on public and unsealed roads – emergency braking/cornering/adherence to road rules/company policy and procedure
  • Negotiating various terrain – up/down steep slopes, across side slopes
  • Fitting and use of chains – only where required/company policy
  • Monitoring environmental impacts
  • Complete stall recovery – forwards/reverse