Off Road Trail Etiquette – Facing Non-Motorized Traffic!


Trail riding in state parks and other public areas is a great way to enjoy the outdoors while having a little off-road fun with your truck or Jeep.

It’s important to understand that these lands are used by more than just motorized traffic like 4X4 vehicles, ATVs, and motorbikes; you may come across non-motorized traffic, too.

Keeping things fun and safe for everyone involves showing courtesy to all users of these trails.

What Type of Traffic Might You Encounter On the Trail?

State and public parks are there for use by the public in many different ways.

Besides the usual motorized vehicles you may come across, there may also be hikers on foot, bikers on their mountain bikes, people walking dogs, and even trail riders on horses.

Though each type of traffic usually has its own designated trail to follow to ensure everyone’s safety, there may be places where other trails cross over or parallel the driving trails.

Rules for Safe Trail Travels Around Non-Motorized Traffic

When you’re out on the trail in your truck or Jeep, it’s your responsibility to maintain safety around non-motorized traffic that always has the right of way.

Practice good trail etiquette and safety by acknowledging these important trail riding rules for motorized vehicles:

  • Be Alert - Be on the lookout for non-motorized traffic on the trails, not just other vehicles.
  • Yield - Non-motorized traffic always has the right of way so yield to all non-motorized traffic, even if it enters your trail.
  • Slow Down - When passing or driving near others on the trail, slow down in your truck or Jeep for safety.
  • Be Respectful - Recognize that other people have every right to be on the trail as you do, whether on foot, a bike, a horse, or in a vehicle.
  • Be Friendly - Wave or say hello and interact with other traffic on the trail if you’re all stopped at the same place which will create a positive impression of your group of 4x4 trail users.
  • Help When Help Is Needed - Stop and offer assistance if it seems like someone needs it, even if just to share some water or help lost travelers find their way back to the right trail.
  • Be Careful Around Horses and Wildlife - Animals, especially horses and wildlife, can be unpredictable so drive slow around both, never chase or honk your horn at them, and stop entirely if the horses look scared and wait until they pass.
  • Stay On Your Own Trail - Keep your wheels on trail tracks meant for your truck or Jeep and avoid leaving it that is just general off-road trail etiquette.

Be Courteous and Share the Trails With All Users

State parks and other public lands that offer recreational trails are there so we can all experience the wonder of nature and the fun of driving, hiking, and riding those trails.

When you’re out in your truck or Jeep, be alert to the other traffic you may encounter including non-motorized traffic and share the wealth.

Follow these trail etiquette tips to ensure everyone’s safety and ability to share in the enjoyment of our beautiful parks and trails!

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