Off-roading is one of the more exciting hobbies you can experience. Going off road opens your eyes to places you would not otherwise see.
It also challenges you, as the terrain is far different from what you are accustomed to driving on road.
Follow these very important simple rules for a safer and more enjoyable experience:
- Let someone know where you will be and when you expect to return. This applies to all trips, not just those in challenging areas. People have been known to get stuck or lost in relatively easy terrain. Should something happen and you’re unable to leave the area or call for help, your friends or family will be there to help.
- An extra vehicle means additional manpower to help with problems that may occur. This ensures that you will have transportation out in the event your vehicle becomes stuck or damaged and can’t be fixed there.
- Pack the proper gear to get you through the night and to handle medical emergencies. Even a Sunday drive on the beach can turn sour very quickly.
- Tie everything down inside. Everything will fly around if you roll it or end up on your side. Loose items can become missiles which will seriously hurt anyone inside.
- Belt up! The unexpected can happen in a blink and all of a sudden you are upside-down or crashed into a tree - Ouch! Everyone wears a seatbelt going from A to B, just like when you drive on normal roads. Not only will you and your passengers get chucked around quite a bit, the possibility of rolling over or crashing exists at any time. Make sure everyone is belted in as you normally should.
- Arms and legs must remain inside & thumbs on the outside of the steering wheel. Many trails run through narrow passageways. Any arms or legs hanging outside can get torn off by the trees, cliff walls, or rocks just outside your vehicle. If the vehicle begins to tip your instinct is to put your hand out. There is no way you will be able to stop a vehicle this way. Roll your windows up if you can’t control the urge. Also, make sure no one holds onto the roll bar. Their fingers will get smashed in the event of a roll over. Hands can also be injured if you drive under low-hanging branches. Always make sure when driving off-road that your thumbs are on the outside of the steering wheel, you can very easily snap your thumbs off when the steering wheel jolts after you hit a rock or land after getting some air.
- Quit if you become tired. Off-roading requires the utmost concentration. Any lack of it can lead to an accident and perhaps death. If you feel fatigued at all, pull over and rest, or let someone else drive. Do not force it just to get home in time for your curfew.
- Lock it down. When driving off-road, you are seldom on level ground. Make sure your vehicle will not roll away from you. When you stop, put the vehicle in park, apply the emergency brake, and turn off the engine.
- Do not hang on a vehicle. If the vehicle gets stuck in a precarious position, do not try to pull it down or otherwise tip it by hand. And absolutely do not climb on the vehicle. Use the proper tools and techniques, and always be a safe distance away. A vehicle can and will crush you if given the chance.
- Inspect all parts before using, and stand clear whilst they are in use. The straps, clevises, and other pieces are under extreme tension when in use. A failure can be lethal to you and people watching.