There’s a lot of great reasons why experienced drivers agree that you should never go off-road with your Jeep alone and it’s not just to have help in case of getting stuck or having an accident.
If you’re planning on pushing limits and improving skills by tackling some challenging trail obstacles, it’s important to have a spotter to act as a spare pair of eyes.
No matter what your level of experience may be with off-roading and different types of obstacles, you can’t see what every wheel on your Jeep off-roader is doing at all times when sitting behind the steering wheel.
Working with a spotter, you’ll have better success safely negotiating challenging obstacles on the trail without causing damage to your new Jeep stubby bumper or ending up injured.
Spotters are an asset who can also help drivers learn as they go!
What Does A Spotter Do?
A spotter is essentially a second set of eyes that can tell you where your front tires are and how your Jeep is responding to attempts to clear obstacles from a totally different viewpoint – the outside of the vehicle.
Spotters are critical for helping pick the right line and then staying true to that line by guiding you so your tires end up where they should be to safely clear the obstacle.
By helping in this way, a spotter will also reduce the likelihood that a rear bumper could end up damaged from getting the wheels stuck, scraping the rock sliders on the bottom of the Jeep on the rocks, or even rolling over due to unbalancing and loss of center of gravity.
Spotters are especially important in situations where one wrong move could cause a serious accident like falling over the side of a hill or getting stuck on a giant pile of boulders.
The more dangerous the obstacle, the more critical it is to use a spotter to help scale that obstruction correctly and safely.
How Do You Work With A Spotter?
Although anyone can watch where you’re driving and act as a spotter, the really good spotters also off-road in their modded Jeeps themselves and already know the ins and outs of scaling different obstacles and how they should be driven.
You need to trust your spotter, so it’s important to choose someone who is observant, has good judgment, and is skilled at trail driving and safely negotiating obstacles in their own right.
Once you’ve decided on the right spotter and determined how to take your Jeep over an obstacle, it’s essential to only pay direct attention to the spotter, blocking out anything that anyone else might say and communicate only with the person chosen to act as the spotter.
In particularly challenging scenarios, the spotter may enlist a third person to act as a second set of eyes for the spotter who will take that information and then correctly signal to you.
Simply stated, the only person to interact with is your designated spotter.
How Do You Communicate With A Spotter?
Successful spotting is all about communication, so it’s essential to understand how to do so beforehand:
- Know Your Vehicle – Start off by first making sure that the two of you both know what your Jeep is capable of and what to expect from it where traction, balance, and other details are concerned.
- Understand the Signals – Go over the different hand signals that are typically used and what each mean. Spotters should use different non-verbal signals to communicate everything you need to know, from stopping immediately or backing up to indicating a tire that’s off the ground, needing to turn the wheels, when to move forward and by how much, and other commands.
- Stop and Clarify – If you don’t understand or have a question, don’t just guess! Stop and ask the spotter to clarify so you actually do what they have instructed in order to continue a safe passage with your upgraded Jeep over the obstacle.
Don’t Have An Ego – Work With A Spotter!
Spotters are critical to trail-traveling safety no matter what type of Jeep you are driving or your level of off-roading experience.
Even the most skilled drivers depend on sharp spotters to help them avoid missteps that can result in damage to Jeep bumpers and even injuries.
Take a lesson from the wise experienced Jeepsters and always travel in groups and use an experienced spotter.
Rather than thinking all your experience means it’s not necessary to use a spotter, put that expertise to good use by spotting for someone else so everyone stays safe, has fun, and learns as much as they can!