In a previous article titled Conquering Obstacles On The Trails – 7 Tips To Do It Right!, off-roading was discussed to help you get a maximum return from your time on the trails without running into trouble that could damage your 4×4 or otherwise ruin your fun day.
This time, we’ll look at trail riding from the other side by pointing out some errors to avoid along that same vein.
These seven mistakes to avoid will help you safely conquer obstacles on the trail and when combined with the previous seven great tips for doing it right will let you enjoy a successful day off-roading!
1. Forgetting to Check the Weather
Safety when off-roading depends largely on preparing for and knowing how to drive during all road and weather conditions.
A change in the weather could change your whole day if you’re not prepared for the challenges you could face.
Always know before you leave what the weather will be and decide early if you should just skip it for the day or carry on but include planning on how to get through in the event that the weather should turn bad.
The fewer surprises and challenges you deal with, the safer you and your 4X4 will be.
2. Forgetting to Scope Your Route
After planning any weather possibilities, plan out your travel route that includes any secondary routes you may need if you can’t get through certain obstacles or the weather turns bad.
Use trail and terrain maps to plan your routes and prepare for all the possibilities you could encounter while driving them.
3. Relying On Cheap Recovery Gear
Recovery gear like the winch, straps, and shackles are critical components for getting yourself out of trouble.
They have to be strong enough to do their job or you could end up in an even worse or more dangerous situation.
**BIG HINT: Never skimp when purchasing recovery gear!
Buy the best you can afford, choose only reliable brands, and buy gear that’s rated higher than what you ever think you’ll need for added safety.
4. Exhibiting Bad Behavior
Showing off on the trail by doing things that can be dangerous to you or others is not only really risky but also highly inconsiderate.
You risk damaging your truck or Jeep or someone else’s, causing injuries, and potentially tearing up the trail that everyone else wants to use too.
Use proper trail etiquette while off-roading and always stay considerate to others driving the same trails.
5. Not Checking the Water Depth
Fording water is a fun and exciting thing to do when you’re out in your 4X4.
It’s also a great way to end up stuck with some serious damage to your engine if you haven’t done your math correctly ahead of time.
It is essential that you get in with both feet and gauge the depth of any water you plan to cross that’s deeper than your truck’s axles.
Be sure to take a good look around to plan a safe path so that you’re equipped for how deep it could get.
Assuming you’re safe without confirming it are some famous last words you’ve heard before along the way including “when you assume, you make an xxx out of you and me!“
6. Not Knowing When to Go Back
Whether it’s due to deep water, bad weather, poor trail conditions, tires not gripping as you thought they would, or any other issue, it’s vital to “know when to hold them, know when to fold them” as Kenny Rogers song says so you have a sense of knowing when it’s time to turn back.
Sometimes things just aren’t going to work out the way they should, so it’s better to – here we go with sayings again – “be safe than sorry.”
There will always be another chance for you and your truck to come back and try again to conquer that obstacle the right way.
7. Not Knowing Your Limits
Part of the game in off-roading is improving your skills by gently pushing your limits when things are working out well for you.
Yet it’s still critical that you have a sense of when to push the limits of your truck and when to back off and keep things under control.
All the determination in the world won’t keep you safe if you significantly ignore your own skill or safety limits and end up stuck, wrecked, or hurt.
Use common sense and know when enough is enough.
Avoid These 7 Mistakes!
Everybody makes mistakes and hopefully, we all learn from them.
When it comes to off-roading and negotiating challenging obstacles, it’s better to avoid some mistakes than forcing yourself to learn that hard lesson.
Steer clear of these 7 no-nos and when you combine them with the 7 Tips for Success from the previous article, you can expect fun times on the trail without the problems that could otherwise plague your outings!