Trail etiquette is a big part of off-roading, as it enables everyone to share this fun sport equally without negatively affecting someone else’s experience.
With drivers of all different levels hitting the trails with their modded trucks or Jeeps at the same time, it’s important to understand details like how to properly pass a slower vehicle as well as the dos and don’ts of staging areas.
Check out these helpful hints on some of the finer points of off-road etiquette and make more friends to enjoy your day with and maybe learn a thing or two from!
Staging On The Trail – Stay Considerate
Staging is, essentially, pulling over to prepare your off-road truck for whatever you’re about to do next.
Whether you’ve just arrived at the trail site or are doing a final preparation to crawl a rock formation or climb a challenging hill obstacle, it’s that time you spend making sure your vehicle is trail-ready and equipped to forge ahead.
Staging can take some time, so do understand that it’s rude to do your staging and group assembling in a place where you’re preparing for a specific obstacle or blocking other people from accessing the front end of the trail.
Off-roading on public lands is all about sharing and taking your turn, so you should be ready to go when your turn arrives.
Stay off the trail and off the lines while staging and just wait for your turn.
In the same way that it would seem annoying if you’re ready to go and the person in front of you is still staging, consider it the other way around.
Everybody will get a chance with their truck or Jeep when staging etiquette is followed to keep trucks moving on the trail.
Passing On the Trail – Let Faster Guys Go Ahead
Besides keeping all staging activities off the trail and away from active obstacles, the other part of keeping the trails moving is knowing the correct passing etiquette.
Generally, slower-moving vehicles should stay to the right while faster-moving trucks carefully pass them on the left just like on the highway.
By following this tip, trail traffic keeps flowing and everyone can drive whatever speed is most comfortable and remain safe at all times.
When there isn’t enough room for faster drivers to pass to the left, it’s up to the slower driver keep things moving steadily as much as possible.
Slower drivers should pay attention to who is behind them and whether they’re blocking other vehicles, then find a safe place to pull over, signal, and give faster-moving trucks an opportunity to pass.
Just don’t go off the trail to allow passing; wait until you reach a spot where you can let someone pass without driving on non-trail surfaces.
Passing On Inclines – Up Has the Right of Way
There’s a different rule to follow when trails go up and down inclines, namely that a truck heading up has the right of way in most cases.
Because it’s easier to descend a hill whereas going up usually demands careful planning to make it up, always look down at the trail before you moving downward and give someone coming up the right of way.
If you both happen to meet in the middle for some reason, safety says the opposite: the vehicle going up should carefully back down and let the descending vehicle finish before resuming the climb.
Keep Count When Passing
No matter where or how you pass someone or are passed, it’s a good idea to count vehicles in order to allow driving parties to stay together.
Give a hand signal as to the number of vehicles that will be passing altogether so that everybody knows what’s going on.
Always Practice Proper Trail Etiquette
Above all, whenever you’re sharing the trails with others and practicing good trail etiquette, the ultimate guideline is to slow down for everyone’s safety.
Slowly enter the trails from designated staging areas, pass slowly, and decrease your speed to allow other off-roading trucks to pass so there are no mishaps.
Everyone’s patience and cooperation will ensure you all have a great time on the trail without unnecessary waiting or facing dangerous conditions that could ruin the day for all!