Negotiating Tricky Off-Road Hills – Proven Safety Tips!

Rock and hill climbing can be a thrilling, off-road adventure you can experience in your souped-up off-road truck or Jeep. Of course, it is important to stay safe while having fun. The big tires and protective truck bumpers you put on your off-roader can make it trailworthy; however, you still need to know how to negotiate each of the various obstacles. Think about these tips when you are out on the hills so you can safely get to the top and back down again.

Investigate The Hill On Foot

Before you attempt to climb any steep or challenging incline, walk up to the top to see what the top is like, the status of the footing, and what you face on the other side. You can avoid dangerous situations or getting high-centered by first investigating, then making the climb once you know your truck can handle it. After getting a good look at things, decide on a plan to get up and over it and what you will do if you run into trouble.

Know Correct Approach and Departure Techniques

Although it may look simple, there is more to getting up an incline than just stepping on the gas and going. The steeper a hill, the more important it is for you to know your off-roader's approach and departure angles to avoid getting stuck, scraping your bumper, or high-centering at the top. Know the length of your truck and how much ground clearance it needs to figure out which hills you can climb and which you should avoid.

Never Drive Hills On An Angle

Hills should always be driven straight up and straight down again. This keeps the weight of your truck balanced and shifted to either the rear or front wheels. Negotiating inclines on an angle shifts weight to the lowest wheel, taking it off the wheel diagonal to it. Sliding due to loss of traction or rolling over onto your truck bumpers then becomes a real risk.

More Power Going Up

As you approach and begin to climb a hill, increase power to keep your truck moving and ease off just as you get to the top. Back off a bit if the front wheels start to bounce or chatter; this will stabilize them and keep you moving forward. If you lose your uphill momentum or your engine stalls, put it in reverse, restart the engine, then back down to the bottom to try again.

Take It Easy Going Down

When descending a steep hill, avoid relying on your brakes as this could cause your off roader to lose traction and slide dangerously. Shift into first gear in low range with a manual, and avoid riding the clutch. With an automatic, put the truck into first gear. Tap or ease your brakes lightly if necessary to keep your speed down in low gear.

Never go down a hill in neutral or with your foot on the clutch. Let the truck slowly roll down the hill using its own power so you do not descend too fast. Control and preventing a slide is more critical than speed when coming down any kind of a decline.  

Most importantly, always take your time and plan carefully when negotiating hills. Consider the incline you want to climb, the limitations of your off-roading truck even with its tire, bumper, and suspension upgrades, and then plan for all circumstances. Don't rush your climb. Part of the fun in climbing a hill safely is the challenge of figuring out how to do it successfully!

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