Sports & Recreation

Students participate in four-wheel drive safety clinic

Course at Hollister Hills tailored to teach off-road driving safety.

On May 18Esprit de Four hosted a Four-Wheel Drive (4WD) Safety Clinic at Hollister Hills State Vehicular Recreational Area.

Maya getting ready to try her hand at the course. Photo courtesy Jay Holland.

According to the nonprofit’s website, the clinic is primarily tailored to introduce those with little or no experience to off-road driving safety and trip planning. Students get a feel for what they and their vehicle are capable of while driving in various types of terrain found in forests and wildlands.

Jay Holland of Marin County attended the May 18 clinc at Hollister Hills with his 17-year-old daughter Maya. Holland mentioned this was Maya’s first time driving a 4WD vehicle off-road and the instructor guided her through the route.

“Hollister Hills is a really clean and well maintained park,” said Holland.

Maya and her father, Jay. Photo courtesy Jay Holland.

The Hands-On Safety Clinic consists of classroom instruction, two guided trail tours and one-on-one guidance through several exercises.

Instruction includes:

  • Classroom instruction consists of a narrated slide presentation on topics like back roads driving etiquette, how to avoid dangerous situations and getting your vehicle unstuck. Students are encouraged to ask questions and participate in classroom discussions. A demonstration related to vehicle recovery basics is also provided.
  • Trails rated as “easy” to “moderately-difficult” are driven in the park where participants can put their newly acquired off-road driving skills to use. Students and their vehicles are divided into groups and guided by instructors along well-marked routes. CB radios are helpful in communicating directly with the trail guides, as well as other students.
  • One-on-one instruction will be provided to guide participants through Tire Placement, Stair Steps, Frame Twister, Hill Climb, and Off-Camber exercises. Students are encouraged to drive through all of the obstacles in order to get the most from this hands-on clinic, but full participation isn’t mandatory.
Heading out for more fun. Photo courtesy Jay Holland.

Esprit de Four’s next Fall Safety Clinic is scheduled for Sept. 21. Holland said he’s thinking of talking a friend who has a daughter too.”It was tons of fun. We’re definitely doing it again,” he said.


Registration will open in the summer. For more information visit

Esprit de Four was founded as a nonprofit organization in San Jose in 1975. They are a family friendly four-wheeling club and members of Cal 4 Wheel.

Video of Maya Holland (posted by Leslie David and provided by Jay Holland) getting coached through her first off-road adventure in the driver’s seat.


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Blaire Strohn

Blaire Strohn was a popular and vivacious reporter for BenitoLink. Blaire passed away Sept. 25, 2019 after doing her best for years to heroically ignore the limitations of Cystic Fibrosis. Despite these challenges, she was a graduate student at Oklahoma State University focusing on International Agriculture. Blaire also graduated from California State University, Fresno with a Bachelors Degree in Agriculture Communications. Born and raised on a cow/calf operation ranch in Paicines, Blaire was passionate about the agriculture community and western way of life.