When you’re off-roading, you are aware that you need to alter the way you drive to fit the terrain. The last thing you want is to be surprised by a sudden change in the type of surface you’re driving on – especially when rounding a curve. Below are a couple of tips from GearAmerica on how to stay safe and read the terrain while you’re off-roading.
Are You Driving in an Unfamiliar Place?
Cruising around in a place you know well is one of the safest ways to minimize unexpected bumps in the road or sudden, dangerous changes in terrain. But who wants to go off-roading in the same place all the time? When you’re out and about on an unfamiliar trail and you encounter a change in the terrain, stop, get out, and scout around a bit. Take a look (or a walk, if need be) and see just how far the new terrain extends, and come up with a strategy on how best to tackle it. If there are other off-roaders around, you can watch them and see what they do in the same area.
But it’s Off-Road Driving – Not Off-Road Walking!
If getting out of your vehicle to scout things out doesn’t sound appealing (and we know it doesn’t), you’ll need to know how to read the terrain. You can start doing this by elevating your gaze a little bit and looking at how the terrain is going to be as opposed to focusing on the here-and-now and how the terrain is currently. Of course, you can’t always keep your eyes on the terrain ahead of you; you do need to focus on what you’re doing at the moment as well. With practice, you’ll start to get a feel for when you can take your attention off of what’s immediately in front of you and for how long.
What Does Looking Ahead do for You?
When you’re gazing at the trail ahead and you notice a sharp pitch to one side, it could mean that there’s a steep drop off coming up – and that’s important information to have! Additionally, if you’re heading uphill, you can begin to plan out a path to take to successfully navigate the hill. Which rocks will you put your tires on? Which ones will you avoid? Having a plan in place before you meet the challenge is the safer, smarter way to off-road.
At GearAmerica, our goal was to create an adventure brand aligned with our core beliefs. We advocate for a lifestyle of freedom, comradery, and respect for nature as well as machinery.
We can’t all be Tony Stewart and begin learning to off-road while we’re young. Reading terrain is a skill that will take time to master, but the better you get, the more enjoyable your off-roading experience will be.