Enjoy Your Off-Road Experience With These Six Tips

Oct 4, 2016 by Cedric (Driver Weekly)

Taking your truck, SUV, or even ATV off-road can be a fun adventure, but you will want to stay safe while doing so. Simply knowing what to do and not to do on your trip can help you make the most of it and prevent injuries to yourself and damage to your vehicle. To have the best possible off-roading experience, consider the following tips.

Drive With Purpose

No matter the type of vehicle you are driving off the road, be sure to drive slowly and carefully. Going fast has a time and a place, but that is not off the road. Driving too quickly makes it impossible to spot rocks, logs, and other obstacles that could be in your way. Driving carefully will protect your vehicle and give you a chance to appreciate your surroundings as you scan the terrain ahead of your vehicle.

Pay Attention

You should always pay attention to the road when driving and avoid being distracted, but this is particularly important when off-roading. After all, there are more obstacles on trails than on a well-paved highway. If you need to answer a phone call or adjust the radio, stop your vehicle for a second and do so. Don’t put yourself and your vehicle at risk by trying to multitask when you should be concentrating on the trail.

Stop And Leave The Car

Part of the fun of off-roading is successfully conquering the challenges that are in your way. To do this, sometimes you will have to actually get out of your truck or SUV and take a better look at the obstacle. Before wading through that stream, make sure you know how deep it really is instead of guessing. Getting out of your vehicle may also let you see an alternative route that your vehicle is better equipped to handle. Leaving your car (when you are in a secure position to do so) will finally give you a chance to appreciate your success and the natural beauty of your surroundings.

Control The Wheel

You may not realize it, but when off-roading, you have to be particularly careful about how you hold the steering wheel. If you keep your thumbs on the inner portion of the steering wheel, you may find yourself with an unpleasant sprain or worse. If your front wheels get stuck, your wheel may start to turn, taking your thumbs with it.

Stick To Low RPM

When off-road, you should keep your RPM low as you tackle the trail. The only exception is when you are overcoming an obstacle and need the extra revolutions for a sudden push. Otherwise, stay in lower gears and stick to a steady and controlled speed.

Prepare For The Trail

You never want to get stranded when you are in tough terrain or an isolated area that is difficult to access, so be sure to check your vehicle thoroughly before you ever hit the trail. Make sure everything is working smoothly and bring along the supplies you may need such as a spare tire, extra can of gasoline, and more. Don’t forget to bring a basic first aid kit, snacks, and water, as well as basics like rope and towing gear if you need to get out of a sticky situation—literally, in the case of mud. Follow these simple tips (and any other recommendations from experienced off-road drivers) and you can hit the trails knowing you are safer and more prepared for adventure.

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