The best advice is to keep your speed down and don't relax while you are on sand, you may have to correct a drift in an instant.
Don't wrap your thumbs around the steering wheel either, when the sand “grabs” the front wheels the force comes back through the steering wheel which spins with such force and speed it can break your thumbs.
Above: Off road shocks give the 4x4 suspension a real workout. Four wheel drive shock absorbers should be checked regularly.
You can get stuck in soft sand easily. The most common way is to be in a high gear and not have any power in reserve. Hitting soft sand just sucks huge amounts of power and if you are in a lower gear you can respond quickly.
If you are losing forward momentum, don't keep the power on and dig yourself into a hole. Let the truck come to stop and reverse out on your own freshly compacted tracks.
If you sit there and spin your off road truck tires in the sand it does nothing but make a bigger hole that makes your 4wd wheels stuck even more firmly.
Tyre pressure is also a major factor in performance on sand, the link below will give you the recommended pressures as well as other valuable info on tires
4x4 Truck Wheels and Four Wheel Drive Tire Size for safe beach driving
Getting A Bogged Vehicle Free
If you do get stuck, you will need to get the vehicle out. If you have another vehicle with you, you can get a gentle tow.
Most 4WDs do not have recovery points on them that can handle anything more than the gentlest of recoveries. Tow balls can shear off easily so aren't suitable for attaching tow ropes to.
A good set of recovery hooks bolted to the chassis is a sound investment if you will be using towing as your main method of recovery.
If the other vehicle doesn't have good recovery points (and gear), be very careful. This is the most common mistake people make and it can have lethal consequences.
Don't use chains, shackles or other attachments that may become dangerous projectiles if the rope breaks. These can go straight through cars, and people, and are incredibly dangerous.
A badly attached recovery point (like a bulbar) can also come off as they aren't attached to the chassis strongly enough in most cases.
If you regularly travel with another vehicle, setting them both up with decent hooks and proper recovery rope (9m or so) will see you handle most recoveries easily. Always use the minimum amount of force needed in a recovery.
Self Recovery - Off Road Recovery Tips
You may not always have another suitably equipped vehicle nearby. If you are on your own you still have some options.
Clear the sand away from the front of the tires and any other point touching the sand. A shovel is a big help here.
If you can't drive out, use a wide piece of plywood under your jack to lift one side at a time and build a road under each wheel.
Use firm sand, car mats, old carpet, or anything that helps support the vehicle.
When you have all wheels done then slowly drive off! It pays to carry a shovel, a piece of plywood (as a jack base) and a jack for this.
I remember my old man got the Holden bogged in the soft sand at Foxton once. He had been driving on that beach all his life and knew what to do.
He simply scooped the sand away from in front of the tires, then wetted the sand in front of each driving wheel. We hopped back in and drove off! Simplly wetting the sand in front of the wheels made all the difference.
Winches are a bit over rated. Many people don't service them and find they don't work when needed. On a beach you have the other problem of very few things to winch off. You can bury your spare tire, but I carry a decent ground anchor that I know works in sand.
Think through what you will do if you get stuck and carry the correct off road emergency equipment for getting yourself out. I have seen one guy in a van with the surf coming through it still battling to stop it being washed away, don't let that be you.
Above: A popular four wheel drive modification is to fit a snorkle for the air intake to prevent water being sucked into the motor when traversing deeper creeks. Note the winch bumper hides the drum ot of sight and out of the way.
Off Road Bumpers - 4x4 bumpers