Of all the things that off-roading in a truck or Jeep may be, there are two that can be counted on:
- It is loads of fun, which is why so many people like to do it.
- It has the potential to be extremely dangerous, just like a lot of really fun things do.
Thankfully, all the fun without the danger can be found by sticking to some easy off-road tips for safe driving!
1. Don’t Go It Alone
The number one rule of off-roading safety is to never do it alone since you never know when trouble might rear its ugly head and help may be needed.
Ideally, only go out in a group or with at least one other vehicle.
In a worst-case scenario, there is more than just one person to deal with problems and others to notice if you do not show up when expected to return.
2. Stay On Marked Trails
Don’t go off the marked trails unless it is an area designed for doing just that.
This is primarily to avoid any damage to the trails that are shared with other drivers; however, there is a safety issue to consider as well.
Going off the trail is going into no man's land with no idea of what might be found that could leave you injured or your off-road truck stuck or broken down when driving on unmarked land.
3. Slow and Steady
Speed is definitely not a friend when driving off-road.
The rougher the going and the more challenging the obstacles, a slower speed when driving should be done to prevent damaging that new replacement bumper or getting stuck.
Drive only as fast as necessary to get through and over but no faster.
Although it is certainly a temptation to barrel down rocky trails, your truck and passengers will thank you for slowing down.
4. Don’t Push Your Luck
Off-roading is about building a skillset over time in that off-road truck which requires slowly leaving your comfort zone behind as skills improve.
On the other hand, don't push your luck and get into danger by taking on more than what your current skillset can handle.
Learn the difference between challenging yourself and doing too much, then certainly avoid the latter to stay safe.
5. Stay Secure Inside the Vehicle
Whether it is only windows down or off-road doors having been installed, driver and passengers should keep all hands, feet, and any other body parts inside the vehicle and keep seatbelts fastened.
Branches whipping by are a danger as are rocks flying up off the trail and striking that new front bumper or hands stuck out the window.
In the unfortunate event of rolling the vehicle, arms or legs outside the confines of the passenger compartment could be seriously injured.
6. Bring The Right Gear
Whenever heading off-road, there are four types of gear that should be brought so a minor issue doesn’t ruin the day.
Bring repair tools and vehicle parts, recovery gear in case of getting stuck, first-aid gear in case someone is hurt, and survival gear in case you end up staying overnight in the wilderness.
Think out all of these situations and bring the most obvious needs like a full-size spare, a jack and tire repair kit, some spare water and coolant, a first-aid kit, a winch and recovery straps, emergency rations and drinking water, and more.
7. Keep Off-Road Vehicles Maintained
A common reason why people break down on the trail is that they have not kept their off-road trucks well-maintained.
Off-roading puts a lot of extra stress on the vehicle, so it is important to provide the extra maintenance needed to keep it running well.
Upgrade your truck or Jeep as necessary to make it more durable, then do the maintenance between drives.
Before heading off for the trails, do a thorough inspection to make sure everything looks and runs well to reduce the chance of a breakdown.
Do the same when returning while washing the truck off and make any necessary repairs if anything is found in need of attention.
Keep Off-Roading Fun By Practicing Safe Driving!
Whether going off-road to enjoy the gentle bounces on the beginner trails or putting your weekend warrior to the test with rock crawling or water fording, safety always matters.
The rules on safe off-road driving are the same no matter what your driving skill level may be.
These basic yet critical tips will allow you to enjoy the day while preventing accidents that can ruin the whole experience!