If you find the right vehicle, taking it off road can be a fun, exhilarating hobby. You get to go places that your friends and family may never have seen before and you get to feel like you’re on a trailblazing adventure.
Off-roading can be very dangerous though, especially if you’re not familiar with the safety procedures that come along with the adventure. There are many pitfalls and perils that you need to understand how to avoid and what to do if you actually have an accident while you’re far away from the nearest road. Here’s a quick guide to off-roading safety so you can feel confident taking that new Jeep Cherokee off the beaten path.
Watch Your Speed
One of the most dangerous habits — and one of the easiest ones to break — is driving too fast while you’re off road.
There’s a very simple saying to remember when you’re off-roading: “Drive as slow as possible, but as fast as necessary.” When you’re off road, there are problems you will run into that you wouldn’t on a paved road, such as hidden potholes, slippery slopes, and downed trees or other hazards that can cause an accident. This saying tells you that taking your time is very important, while at the same time understanding that you need a little speed sometimes to climb a steep grade or get through trouble.
When you’re off-road, just remember to take it slow and easy and adjust your speed according to the road that you are on.
Stay on the (Off) Road
While you’re driving off-road, you may be tempted to take off through the wilderness, off the path that you were following. This isn’t a good idea.
If you stay on the path that’s already there, you know that it’s possible to go to the end and back (depending on your vehicle and the conditions, of course). But if you leave the trail, you not only risk injury to yourself, but you can also permanently damage your vehicle and the environment as well. If you aren’t sure where you are going, you could wander into sensitive or protected areas that are meant to stay apart from civilization. This can lead not only to vehicle damage, but it can also net you a fine if you are in an area you’re not supposed to be in.
Use Common Sense
Never drive through an area you aren’t sure that vehicle can handle. This will prevent you from getting stuck or even injuring yourself.
Also, always make sure people know where you are headlined to off-road. This way, if you get stuck or injured and can’t make it home, people will be able to know where to look for you. It’s always better to play it safe than to wish you had!
Off-road driving is one of the coolest things you can do when you own the vehicle. You get to have an adventure and see things that most people don’t get to see.