When heading out for a day of fun on the trails, the last thing you want to do is cut that fun short by ending up stuck somewhere with your decked-out Weekend Warrior.
Your off-road adventure can end up just like that pretty easily if you don’t think before you drive - your 4X4 isn’t unstoppable, after all!
Check out the top 10 ways to get yourself stuck while off-roading and don’t do them!
1. Not Checking the Weather Beforehand
Bad weather can change everything when you’re on the trail and trying out different obstacles.
You may not be prepared for or ready to attempt certain trails with your off-road truck in the rain, mud, or even snow.
Though Mother Nature is a little unpredictable, reduce the chances of ending up stuck on the trail by checking the weather before you start off and deciding whether it’s worth the risk or not.
2. Not Planning Your Route
Different trails offer different obstacles, some that may be a little out of your zone right now or have challenges your offroader can’t handle.
Before just blindly heading down any trail without scoping it out first, plan your route by researching the trails that interest you either through word of mouth or using things like terrain maps and other technology available to off-roaders these days.
There’s less of a possibility you’ll face things that you or your off-road truck are not prepared for or capable of handling.
3. Not Practicing Before You Jump Right In
Off-roading safely and without getting stuck takes skill and experience.
One of the easiest ways to get yourself stuck on the trail is to start attempting things that you’re not ready for or your off-road truck is not equipped to handle.
Take it slow, learn from those more experienced than you, and practice to build up experience before you jump right into things that aren’t going to work out.
4. Not Checking Water Depth
Crossing water is tricky, as one wrong decision and your engine could be flooded - and then what?
Not only do you need a tow, you'll have one hell of an expensive repair bill to contend with.
Learn the right way to cross water and most importantly, get out and check the depth and know what your off-roader’s fording height is.
Don’t leave it to estimation or you could end up with a big surprise.
5. Not Practicing Good Trail Behavior
Hotdogging on the trail is dangerous for you and everyone around you and it’s a great way to miscalculate and end up stuck.
Keep yourself in check, be courteous and practice good trail etiquette, and don’t risk everyone’s safety by showing off, using poor judgment, and taking unnecessary risks.
6. Not Traveling Light Enough
Weight is a critical issue for off-road vehicles.
Excess weight puts added strain on your suspension and other critical components as well as affects your 4X4’s ability to tackle obstacles and drive uneven terrain.
It can also affect your weekend warrior's center of gravity and balance, as too much weight makes your truck or Jeep more dangerous to drive off-road.
Too much weight can leave you stuck or worse yet, in a dangerous situation where your truck or Jeep can roll if it’s unbalanced.
7. Not Being Prepared
Off-roading success requires everyone to be like a Boy Scout - prepared for anything.
Be ready for the possibility of a flat or some other common mechanical problem with your off-road truck that could leave you stuck if you can’t make a quick repair.
Carry a tool kit and extra parts and supplies with you so you can be up and running again quickly.
8. Not Buying Reliable Equipment
Though off-roading parts and gear are expensive, you get what you pay for.
It’s essential that you spend your money on upgrades and recovery gear that is proven to be reliable and won’t leave you and your off-roader stranded or worse yet, in greater danger.
Stick to brands with good reputations and products that have been recommended by others to ensure you spend on things that will help you, not just empty your wallet.
9. Not Taking It Slow
Slow and steady gets you through the trail, no matter how great your off-road truck performs or what level your off-roading skills may be.
If you tackle the trail at too high a speed you could endanger yourself and others as well as greatly increase the chance that you’re going to break something.
Unless you’re on the beach, off-roading should be done at slow speeds.
10. Not Knowing When to Call It A Day
Whether it's due to weather, trail conditions, too much traffic, or your judgment just being a little bit off, your best choice might be to take your off-road truck, turn it around and go home.
Sure, it’s disappointing, but we all have bad days on the trail or make poor decisions that inadvertently get us into trouble.
When your day on the trail has more frustration than enjoyment or you’re encountering situations that your vehicle can’t handle, it’s good to know when to call it a day and try again another time.
Ready To Not Get Stuck?
The reasons for getting stuck on the trail can usually be chalked up to the same few things: unpreparedness, poor judgment, and lack of skills or proper equipment.
If you pay attention to these top 10 mistakes that could get you and your off-roader stuck, it's less likely you'll ;end up that way!