Off Road Trail Etiquette – Vehicle and Trail Width!


When you head out to the trails for a fun day of off-roading in your Jeep, it’s a good idea to have a basic understanding of trail etiquette that keeps trail riding fun for everyone.

One important topic in trail etiquette is vehicle and trail width as well as how to proceed when things get a little tight.

Only by practicing courteous trail etiquette can we keep off-road trails in good condition so they’re there for not just our enjoyment but everyone else’s too.

Know Your Vehicle’s Width

You can’t practice good trail etiquette without first knowing the exact width of your truck or Jeep.

Start out by researching its width dimension or carefully measuring it yourself and don’t forget to include the width of your tires if they extend past your fenders.

This information will help if you come across posted signs with width restrictions.

You’ll also want to get a feel of vehicle width from the driver’s seat by observing where your tires and vehicle sides appear while on a trail.

Stay On Trail Paths Large Enough for Your Vehicle

One of the golden rules of off-roading is that your Jeep or truck tires should never leave the trail for any reason since they could cause off-trail damage.

Don’t pass anyone if it means leaving the trail or drive on unmarked areas that are not trails unless you’re in a place where driving on open ground is specifically permitted.

Do’s and Don’ts of Navigating Trail Width

As simple as driving on a marked trail may seem, there are still some do’s and don’ts to follow that will easily tell you whether or not to drive that specific trail.

Trail Driving DOs:

  • DO only drive on trails that are as wide or wider than your vehicle.
  • DO keep all four tires on the worn track of the trail only.
  • DO keep tires within individual tracks if possible if your vehicle is wide enough to do so.
  • DO keep one set of tires on one track with the other set in the middle or offset if your vehicle is not wide enough to span across both tracks.
  • DO only drive on trails designated for motor vehicles.

Trail Driving Don’ts:

  • DON’T drive a narrower trail by traveling with one set of tires off the trail.
  • DON’T drive a 4-wheeled vehicle on a trail meant for a 2-wheeled vehicle.
  • DON’T drive on trails that are not wide enough for your vehicle.
  • DON’T drive a wider Side-by-Side on a trail meant for an ATV; stick to the car and truck trails only.
  • DON’T drive off the trail anywhere unless in an open ground area where it’s permitted.

Learn the Skinny on Vehicle Width and Trail Driving Etiquette

Off-road trail riding in your modded truck or Jeep can be loads of fun when you’re driving well-maintained trails that are in good condition.

The way they stay that way is when drivers like yourself driving your off-road warrior Jeep or truck exercise common sense and courteous trail etiquette to reduce excess wear and unnecessary damage to the trails.

Though it may be inconvenient at time or require skipping a specific trail if it’s not wide enough for your truck or Jeep, there are plenty of other trails out there to drive instead.

Treat the trails kindly so they’re always open for you and other off-road lovers!

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