Mitigating Risk Off-Road
Posted by Chris Jurden on
GearAmerica is an off-road recovery gear company. Our products are designed to be tools to safely help in potentially dangerous situations. We understand that situations can get out of control in a heartbeat, so having the toughest, safest gear is the only option. Recovery gear should always be in your kit, but there are many moving parts to off-road adventures when it comes to safety. As we come to the end of another summer, there have been a rash of off-road accidents that, for the most part, were completely preventable. Now, I understand that some situations have variables outside of our control, but there are factors that you can control. Here are a few...
Nobody knows your driving ability better than you know yourself. Having an understanding of exactly what your capabilities are can be a life saver. Yes, off-roading is a way to challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone, but there is a limit. Look at it this way; would you ski a double black diamond cliff for you first time on skis? Probably not. There is a progression to off-road challenges, just like ski slopes. Never be afraid to start slow and build your skills as a driver. Take a class. Ride along. Learn.
Know Your Gear
So you have a 4 wheel drive vehicle. Now what? Take the time to learn how your 4 wheel drive system works. Start slow and feel the power, balance, traction etc of your vehicle and build from there. I've taken new Jeep owners out with stock Jeeps to show then the true capabilities of their rigs and give them an eye-opening look at what they can do. Your off-road vehicle has a lot to teach you...especially if you are newer to the sport. In addition to your vehicle, what other gear are you bringing? Think about tools, winch, recovery gear, water, food, communication etc.
Know Your Terrain
Be very mindful of the trails you are taking. Do a little research beforehand and gather a basic understanding of what to expect. Many people just jump into a trail with no idea what they are getting in to, and bad things happen in the middle of nowhere. If it's a new trail you've never run before, be observant of the changing terrain, go slow, and communicate with your group. GET OUT OF YOUR RIG! When you approach an obstacle, get out and look around first, choose a line, and have a spotter. A good spotter outside of the vehicle has a completely different view of whats happening and can be instrumental in your success on an obstacle.
Expect The Unexpected
Even the most prepared off-roader runs into challenging and potentially dangerous situations. We get stuck. We have equipment failures. It's part of the life. HOWEVER...if you take your time, use common sense, and use the right tools for the job, you can reduce the risk of harm to yourself and your rig. Now get out there, have fun, explore and be safe!
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