Safety Tips for 4x4 Off-Roading
Whether you've gone off-roading
in your 4x4 before, or are about to take your first off-road trip,
knowing how to keep yourself, your passengers, and your vehicle safe
is always smart. Here are some common-sense safety tips to run through
before you ever leave home, designed to help make off-roading all fun,
and no fear:
- Be sure you know your vehicle
well, and have become
used to driving it. You should also know your truck's limits, and
how not to exceed them. Other things to know about your 4x4 before
you leave the pavement are:
- The location of your spare tire
and jack, and how to use them
- The height, width, length,
approach and departure angles, and ramp angle of your vehicle,
so you know which tight spots you can squeeze through, and which
you can't. You'll also want to know where the lowest point of
clearance is, and how much clearance you have.
- Find out if your 4x4 has
stability control system and learn
when, why and how it works.
- Practice using the low ratio
- Know the location of your truck
engine's air intake and computer, so you'll know the maximum
depth of any water you can cross.
- Stay up to date on maintenance
of belts, filters, and hoses, and keep all fluids topped off.
- Be prepared.
Inclement weather or an unforeseen break-down can put a real
damper on an off-road trip, so be sure to pack emergency supplies,
including energy bars and water, a first aid kit, and either extra
clothing or blankets, or both.
- Don't Fly Solo.
Always take at least one other person with you, and if possible,
have an extra vehicle along on your trip as well.
- Contact Counts. Always
make sure someone at home knows where you're going and how to get
in touch with you, and be sure you have their number, as well.
Also, bring along the phone numbers for the local sheriff or
police department, and your insurance company. It's also a good
idea, at least on your first few trips, to check in with your
emergency contact at a pre-arranged time, just in case.
- Maintenance Matters. It
cannot be repeated often enough: be sure your 4x4 is in good
condition before you take it off-road. This includes making sure
the tires are in good condition and adequately inflated, that all
belts are intact, and fluids topped off, and that your brakes and
steering are in good, working condition.
- Lighten the Load. While
it is important to have necessary emergency supplies with you,
don't over-pack, and when you do load your truck, be sure to
balance the weight evenly. If you're using a roof-rack, be sure to
account for the additional height of any items packed in it.
- Location, Location,
Location. Always know where you're
going, and how you're going to get there, and be aware that a trip
that looks short on a map may be a long drive in a 4x4. Keep maps
with you – going off-road doesn't mean ignoring usual safety
Off-roading in a 4x4 is
thrilling and exciting, but having an emergency in the middle of
no-where is never fun. Take safety precautions before you leave home
and you won't have to spend your time fixing problems instead of
taking hairpin turns or tackling challenging hills.
Always know where you are, where
you're going, and which route you intend to take. Be time-conscious...
What may look like a short trip on the map may take many hours in
4-wheel drive -- so allow enough time for safe travel.
Poland's original and
probably only English-speaking 4WD off-road club!
4x4 Off Road Adventure Club, Gorzow, Lubuskie,
© 4x4 Poland / Polen / Polska - 2004