Getting out in the snow can be some of the most fun you can have 4-wheeling in your truck or Jeep.
You do want to be prepared for it so all that fun you anticipate doesn’t actually turn into little more than a trying day spent out in the cold.
Prepare yourself and your grumper-equipped 4-wheeler so you're ready for whatever you encounter and can make the most of all that snow.
Gear Up for Safe Snow Driving
Off-roading in the snow is a lot different than driving with your open fenders in the summer on dry trails or doing wheelies in the mud.
Between the footing and cold weather, make sure your truck is up to the task by preparing everything you need for safe snow trail riding:
===> Winter Truck Maintenance - Before you head out into the tundra, be sure your truck is in great shape and ready for fun by giving it a thorough inspection.
Check all your vehicle systems to make sure they’re functioning correctly, check hoses for wear, and make sure your battery is strong and charging.
Put on a fresh set of windshield wipers, add some fresh antifreeze, flush your cooling system, and make sure you have heat inside.
Getting stuck miles from home in the snow-covered wilderness is a lot different and more dangerous than ending up stranded in the summertime.
Do everything you can to drive out there with a truck that will make it back.
===> Snow Tires or Chains - If you’ve got tires for deep snow or a set of chains, now is the time to put them on.
You don’t have to have these as long as you keep your limitations in mind; all-terrain tires can be fine for driving in the snow, too.
===> Top Off the Fluids - Make sure your windshield washer, antifreeze, oil, and transmission fluid levels are good so your truck will run smoothly and you’ll have great visibility.
Be Safe Driving In the Snow
Off-roading in the snow with your grumper-equipped truck or Jeep presents some unique challenges that you won’t come across trail riding on snow-free trails; keep these pointers in mind to avoid problems:
===> Go Easy on Your Truck - As you’re driving through deeper snow, keep in mind that it can be harder on your truck than driving over normal trails.
Watch your temperature gauge, be cautious of rocks and hidden obstacles under the snow, and take turns being the lead vehicle that forges the new path.
===> Improve Your Traction - Get better traction driving in snow by turning on your differential lockers.
If you drive over ice, turn them off or you’ll be more likely to spin your tires.
===> Be Aware - Snow could hide boulders, mudholes, logs, and more.
Ride the trails slowly so you don’t damage your truck with its steel bumpers.
Be especially aware of areas where the ground descends away from the trail as slipping down the side could lead to a dangerous roll.
===> Mind Your Tailpipe - If you stop or get stuck anywhere and leave your truck idling, make sure the tailpipe is not blocked by snow to avoid toxic exhaust fumes from backing up and entering the truck.
===> Go In A Group - Always go out wheeling in the snow with a group or at least one other vehicle.
Safety still counts; you never know when you will need help.
Don’t Forget the Recovery Gear
Snow is not mud; however, it’s just as easy to get stuck in it.
While pushing your limits a little bit so you can enjoy your trail time in the snow is par for the course, just make sure you can get yourself out should you end up chassis-deep in a snowbank.
A steel truck bumper with a winch is ideal but you’ll want to bring along gear to do a snatch recovery as well.
Pack a shovel, traction mats, a bag of kitty litter, and extra gloves too.
Prepare to Survive
The rule of thumb for safe off-roading is always to prepare for the unexpected.
In addition to your usual truck emergency supplies, pack survival gear and supplies for you and everyone traveling with you in your truck.
Bring a regular medical and emergency kit as well as a cold weather kit that includes glove and boot warmers, blankets, space blankets, a windshield scraper, spare clothing, emergency rations, matches, and similar items.
Bring the survival needs that will keep you alive in the event that you get stranded overnight in the cold.
Ready to Have Some Fun In The Snow?
As the weekend approaches and you start feeling that twinge of excitement, start preparing early so you can best enjoy safe snow-wheeling.
Use this checklist to make sure you and your truck are prepared for many fun days out in the snowy countryside!