Five Safety Tips for Off-Roading
November 30, 2016

Five Safety Tips for Off-Roading

Few things come close to off-roading when it comes to using a vehicle for both hard work and recreation. Taking a vehicle off-road is a professional necessity for some, and an exciting hobby for others. Whether your off-roading adventure is for work or play, it’s important to take the proper precautions to keep you and your passengers as safe as possible. A simple off-roading trip can easily turn deadly without the right gear and a well-laid plan in place. Fortunately, the rules for executing a successful off-road trip are fairly straight-forward. All it takes is a little advance preparation, combined with good old-fashioned common sense, and you can have a safe experience when you take your vehicle out on rugged terrain. There is plenty of great advice out there you can follow to protect yourself, your passengers, and your vehicle on your next off-roading trip, but here are five of the most important safety tips you should consider and use to prepare yourself.
  1. Tell someone about your trip. The most important thing you can do to ensure your safety and take the proper precautions is to tell someone about your trip. This guarantees that someone will know where you are in the event of an accident or emergency, and will make sure that someone will miss you if you don’t make it back on time. This is a good practice for any trip, regardless of the level of danger involved, but it’s especially important in the case of dangerous locations or hazardous terrain.
It’s not enough to simply state that you are taking a trip later. You need to provide details that will help people know where to look for you, and when to start looking if you haven’t made it back. Make sure that someone, or a few people, know what vehicle you are taking, who all is going, the location in which you will be off-roading, and what time you expect to return. The more people who know, the safer you will be in the event of an emergency.
  1. Make sure you’re stocked up on necessities. You don’t want to leave for an off-roading excursion without stocking your vehicle up with all the extras you might need to help you get out of a tight spot and make it back safely. Even the simplest of daily trips can go south in a hurry, and it’s important that you have everything you need to get through any problems you might experience.
The list of necessary gear can vary depending on the level of challenge offered by the terrain and the remoteness of the location. Your job is to evaluate the different ways the trip could take a turn for the worse, and what you would want to have on hand if these things happen. Some trips may require just a few tools and a first-aid kit, while others may require some overnight camping gear and rations.
  1. If you can’t walk it, you probably shouldn’t drive it. You should make time to walk the area where you are planning to go off-roading before you ever take your vehicle out there. It’s true, a four-wheel drive vehicle built to withstand hard use and rugged terrain can successfully navigate many difficult paths. However, there are many terrain hazards that simply can’t be driven through, and you’ll want to know where they are before you take your truck out for a rough drive.
The best way to tell if your vehicle can make the trip successfully is to walk the path first. If you can’t walk through an area because of deep water, too much mud, or too rough of a landscape, the chances are that your off-roading vehicle will have just as difficult of a time making it through. A good rule to follow is that if you can’t make it through walking, then you shouldn’t try to drive it.
  1. Follow the paths of those that went before you. It’s tempting to blaze your own trail through rough terrain and forge a new path, but this is also a good way to end up with a stuck vehicle. In many off-roading areas, you can find some beaten paths where the terrain has been successfully navigated by other off-roaders before you, and these are the paths that you should follow.
Straying too far can land you deep in a ditch or hole, with a lot of heavy digging and lifting to do in order to escape it. Of course, sometimes there won’t be a clear path, and you’ll have to forge ahead to create one. Only do this when it is absolutely necessary, and you will protect yourself, your passengers, and your vehicle from a trip that is much harder than it needs to be.  
  1. Slow and steady wins the race. In all the excitement of off-road driving, you may be tempted to set a roaring pace and speed through the obstacles and terrain. Unfortunately, speed is actually a very dangerous and unhelpful thing when it comes to off-roading, and you should avoid it wherever you can. You want to take off-roading as slowly as possible to maintain safety, and only speed up when it is absolutely necessary, like making it up a steep hill.
It may sound overly cautious, but keeping your vehicle below 10mph is a good rule when off-roading through rugged terrain. Any faster than this increases the likelihood of becoming stuck or causing seriously expensive damage to your vehicle. As the old adage says, better to be safe than sorry. Off-roading can be vocational or recreational, but in every situation, there is a level of danger that shouldn’t be ignored. Take these five safety tips for off-roading seriously and address them before every trip you take on rugged terrain, and you will be taking effective precautions that can very well save your life. We want to help keep you safe, so be sure to visit our website to ensure that you have the best information and the highest quality gear available for your off-roading needs.