It’s summertime, and for most people, this is the time when many are probably itching to get their off-road vehicle dirty. For newbies to off-roading, this is the chance to get your feet wet and vehicle dirty at the same time.
Besides having just the right information to get you through the worst that the road has to throw at you, there’s a multitude of product options from Offroad Power Products to help. As far as all the information, you can find nine off-roading tips for tracking any challenge the terrain throws at you.
Tip #1. Never go anywhere alone.
This first tip comes under the category of better safe than sorry. That’s because when an off-road enthusiast goes somewhere with someone else, the chances are excellent that they won’t get anywhere that they can’t get out of. And if they do, there will be someone to help them out or at least to get help.
Tip #2. Always stay in touch.
This one follows tip number one, and this is another one that can prevent a lot of trouble.
And thanks to modern high technology, it’s also a good idea to make sure that everybody stays in touch with both others who are along on the adventure, as well as those who are not. There’s no reason why anyone including all of those in a party shouldn’t be able to keep in touch with each other.
Tip #3. Make sure someone knows where you are going as well as when you will be back.
Not only should off-roaders tell somebody where they are going and when they expect to be back, but as much as possible they should also try to keep in touch with responsible parties who are not along with them. Letting everyone know where a group is going and when they return gives those who might be tasked with looking for you someplace to start.
Tip #4. Always know where you are going.
This tip goes far beyond just knowing your intended destination. This includes knowing something about the lay of the land before you set out. It’s also a good idea to know something about the conditions of where everyone is headed.
And even if you know where you will go, there’s no telling how much the area has changed since you last. Further, weather conditions can make a sandy, desert paradise into a muddy nightmare.
Tip #5. Know your vehicle.
As much as is possible, know your vehicle, both what it is capable of as well as what it is not capable of. Be sure to know and understand all of the off-road features that a vehicle has. Beyond the owner’s manual, try to read as much about your vehicle as you can that is published in magazines geared specifically at off-road enthusiasts. Learn as much about your vehicle as you can before you get out in the dirt and mud. And know how your vehicle will respond in tight maneuvers, low speeds, and as many other conditions as possible. If you can’t make it through a shopping mall parking lot without making a 20 point turn, don’t try to navigate on an off-road trail.
Tip #6. Know how to 4-wheel.
Just because someone has a 4-wheel vehicle doesn’t mean they know how to manage it when they get off-road. For example, when most drivers of four-wheel vehicles drive, they use only the two rear wheels to drive. In rough terrain, they immediately assume that all they need to do is to put their vehicle into four-wheel drive and handle anything. This is the wrong approach. Four-wheel drive vehicles have become much more sophisticated over the past few years. Many of these vehicles require that the driver lock the front and rear axles, ensuring that the wheels are ready to deliver the power to the road.
Tip #7. Slow and steady, always
Most newbie off-road enthusiasts have visions of getting into their vehicles and opening it up on the Baja 1000 right out of the gates.
Unfortunately, visions like these are nothing short of foolhardy. The truth is that smart off-roading is anything but fast or reckless. Speed will not only result in a damaged vehicle, but it will also get a driver and passengers hurt or killed. Instead, a smart off-road driver applies a sensible pace to his vehicle, whether he is going through a dirt course or mud. To use an adage, “Low range, high gear,” which means that the driver should keep his vehicle in the highest gear possible without the engine sounding like it is bogging down. This will give the wheels all the torque available by putting you at risk of the tires spinning themselves into a hole.
Tip #8. Get out and check it out.
This is another tendency of many newbies to off-roading, but this does not mean that more experienced off-roaders are immune to it. In either case, before you head out onto a road you are not sure of, check out what is in front of you, especially if that road, regardless of how close it is to you, looks solid. If, for example, you come upon a puddle, it pays to get out and probe it with a stick to make sure it’s too deep and might be something you could get stuck in.
Tip #9. Be safe while recovering.
Every year several off-road enthusiasts are hurt or seriously injured trying to unstick a stuck vehicle. This is usually due to a frayed winch cable or improper strap. Not to point fingers, but off-roading newbies are especially prone to doing this. Regardless of your experience in off-roading, it always pays to be very careful.
It should go without saying that anytime an off-roader goes, well off-road, they should do so safely and have a good time. Rest assured that anytime off-roading is done safely, you will have a good time.