When you head out to the trails for some off-roading fun, the last thing you want to deal with is problems. They can come in all shapes and sizes from having problems with your equipment such as your doors, bumpers, and fenders to getting stuck in the mud.
Make the most of your time on the trails or in the field by heeding these valuable tips from those who have blazed the trail before you. Keep these ideas in mind and your day will be a success.
1. Carry the Right Insurance
Before you assume it, make sure your car insurance policy will cover your off-roader for accidents and liabilities that happen while off-roading. Some policies specifically prohibit using your vehicle for this purpose; having an accident could leave you high and dry. Review your policy and increase your coverage to include your off-roading activities to keep yourself and your truck safe.
2. Always Be Prepared
The main rule of safe off-roading is preparation. Practice good safety by ensuring your truck is well-equipped with the right gear, including suitable steel bumpers as well as the important safety gear you may need. Carry a medical kit, recovery gear, and whatever spare fluids, parts, and tools you might need if you run into problems so you can deal with them and get on your way.
3. Watch Where You’re Going
Although this sounds like simple common sense, it is actually more important than you might think. Never assume you’re the only one on the trail and never follow another vehicle over something without looking and analyzing it yourself. Watch for oncoming trucks when reaching curves and observe the right of way when negotiating obstacles and hills. Essentially, look before you leap and make sure it’s safe for you to proceed.
4. Choose Your Line and Follow It
A big mistake that many off-roaders make is not choosing their line first. Before you tackle any obstacle, inspect it well and look at the tire lines that are already there. Make a plan for getting up and over; consider how to react if you start having problems.
Choose your line and follow the tracks of others who have chosen that same line and keep going. Proceed slowly and modify your plan if necessary but try not to stop. Like everything else with off-roading, success comes with the good planning.
5. Hold the Steering Wheel Tight
Avoid situations where the steering wheel is jerked out of your hand while you’re riding rough trails or driving through soft surfaces. If you lose control of the steering wheel, you could end up in danger. Hold the wheel tightly with your hands wrapped securely around so you can stay straight and keep your wheels going where you want them to go even if they get yanked by ruts in the ground. Never hold the steering wheel with your thumbs around it or they could end up broken.
6. Learn How Your Truck Works
To get the most from your truck and stay safe while doing it, be sure you understand how your 4WD and suspension work. Keeping your traction and maneuvering over and around different obstacles takes good planning. You can only plan your best approach if you know how your truck with its open fenders and bigger tires will react in different situations.
7. Know How to Cross Water
Crossing water involves more than just driving in and hoping for the best. Before you try, learn how to prepare your truck and gauge water depth and bottom surfaces. Learn how to move slowly in low gear and keep the water moving away from the front of your truck. If you cross the right way, you won’t stall out in the middle of a river or lake.
8. Be Aware of Mud
Mud presents completely different challenges than water. Not only do you need to know how to get through it, you also need to know how to get out of it if you get stuck. If you’re not looking to go mudding, you also need to know how to recognize when the ground is too soft to try driving over.
Even if others have passed before you, if you drive into ruts that are deeper than your ground clearance you’ll get stuck. Tackling mud in any form is all about analyzing conditions and knowing what your truck can and can’t do before you just try to go barreling through. If you do get stuck, truck winch bumpers can pull your truck to safety.
9. Learn the Right Way to Climb Hills
Hill climbing takes some skill to do it safely and actually make it to the top. More importantly, you must learn how to control your truck if you get part way and end up stopped or h ave to go back down to try again. Never push in the clutch and don’t use the parking brake. You could end up careening downhill or rolling over backward. Learn from experienced hill climbers to tackle hills slowly, increasing height and angles as you get more confident.
10. Check Things Over Before You Leave
Last of all, after your fun day on the trails and getting your truck good and dirty, take some time to give it a good look before you take it back onto the road to go home. Check for any damage and get any thick mud out of your tires and off all your front and rear lights. Make sure you’re safe to travel on the street again.
The moral of the story is that off-roading is only as fun as you allow it be by doing it the right way. Make sure your truck has all the mods it needs to handle trails such as open fenders to accommodate bigger tires, front full tube doors for that wide open experience, and truck winch bumpers to get you off the rocks or unstuck. Follow these tips from experienced drivers to learn the best practices and prevent the common problems that can ruin your day!