There’s almost nothing scarier or more serious than rolling your truck while trying to negotiate obstacles on the trail.
Rollovers can cause significant damage to your off-roading truck even when it is equipped with great rear and front truck bumpers as well as serious injuries to you and your passengers.
Accidents do happen. If you have one and find yourself upside down at any point, it’s good to know how to handle the situation.
Just In Case - Prepare Ahead
Planning for safe off-roading includes preparing for some “what-if” situations.
Start out by first considering how possible it may be to roll your truck in different circumstances and know your limits.
Understand concepts like center of gravity and weight distribution so you can try to avoid dangerous situations that could lead to a rollover.
Include vehicle preparation in your “what-if” rollover planning. Items moving around inside a vehicle cause many of the injuries sustained during a rollover.
So it's essential that anything you carry in your truck is kept secure; contain your gear in storage boxes and bins, strap everything down, and make sure all seatbelts work properly.
After You Roll
No matter what type of truck or Jeep you’re driving, reduce potential injuries when a roll is imminent by keeping all hands and feet inside the vehicle until it comes to a complete stop.
Stay calm and take a few moments to gain some clarity of what's happened.
You need to have a clear head to safely deal with the situation.
Turn It Off
Once you’ve got your wits about you, turn off your truck; this should be the first thing you do before you attempt to touch anything or free yourself from your seatbelt.
Turning off the engine reduces the chance of fuel spilling out of the vehicle should the check valve be damaged.
It can also prevent an electrical shock or a vapor spark that could result from bent metal coming in contact with the battery.
After you turn it off, you can then begin extracting yourself and your passengers.
Turn It Over
After the vehicle is off, everyone's out, and injured people have received medical attention, it’s time to get your truck back on its wheels again.
A major risk when doing this is having the truck go rolling down the hill once it's right side up.
Start by first seeing if you can put it in gear and apply the parking brake; if not, secure the truck with a tow rope to prevent it from rolling away when you get it righted.
Using tow ropes secured to the frame, carefully pull it back over with the help of another truck or two that have a truck winch bumper.
Keep the area clear of onlookers and keep helpers with the winch standing back far enough to prevent injuries.
Assess the Mechanical Damage
As anxious as you may be to see if your truck will still run - stop!
You can do more damage if you try to run it before giving it a good inspection to see what might be damaged.
First check that your radiator is still intact and filled with fluid; then check all your other fluids which may have been displaced or leaked while the truck was tires up.
Top off any essential fluids if you need to.
Only then should you attempt to start the truck, proceeding carefully; turn the starter just enough to see what kind of response you get.
If there seems to be resistance from the motor, stop immediately; that might mean it's hydro-locked.
Get the spark plugs out and turn the engine without them to see if this helps.
Regardless, when you do get your truck running, don’t be surprised when it blows a lot of smoke for a while.
Naturally, if it doesn’t start, you’ve got bigger problems.
How you get home after a rollover accident will depend on how much damage was sustained and whether your truck is actually running or not.
Travel slowly if can drive and take it home for a complete inspection and any needed repairs; if you can't, then you’ll obviously need a tow.
Just Be Ready In Case You Roll
Hopefully you won’t ever encounter a rollover with your truck; however, if you do it’s good to know how to handle it.
Whatever else you do, just stay calm, be careful, and be smart to reduce the amount of damage you'll have to the body, bumpers, fenders and mechanical workings of your truck as well as prevent anyone from getting hurt!