Planning to go off-roading? Then you must know basic important safety tips of off-roading to keep yourself protected from any big trouble.
Venturing away from civilization is very dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing. There are a lot of unpredictable elements involved for which no one can truly prepare for completely. But with the right safety preparations, you can make the experience considerably safer, and more enjoyable.
Here I’ve stated 10 most important tips you should know to keep yourself protected while off-roading. Let’s start.
Protect Yourself While Off-Roading
1. Prepare for Off-Roading Seriously
Preparation is the key to a successful off-roading trip. Before heading out, inspect your vehicle thoroughly to make sure that your vehicle is ready to go. You can use a cheat code for proper inspection and ensure you’ve not forgotten anything to check. The cheat code is “P.E.T.R.O.L”.
- P – Petrol. Inspect the fuel level.
- E – Electrical. Inspect battery terminals, levels, and other electrical connections.
- T – Tyres. Check the tire pressure and look for any kind of cuts or damage.
- R – Radiator. Check the Radiator level, Coolant level.
- O – Oil. Inspect oil level.
- L – Lights. Make sure all lights are working properly including off-road lights.
This “P.E.T.R.O.L” is not really a cheat code. It is a guideline – a very effective guideline. Follow all the steps in this guideline and the vehicle troubles you may potentially encounter will just poof! - taken care of.
2. Tell Someone about Your Trip
This is the most important safety precaution. Tell somebody about your trip and give them an estimate of when you plan to return.
If anything happens on your trip and you don’t come back in time, at least they’ll know where to find you. Especially, if you’re going to hazardous terrain or dangerous locations, then you must use this tip.
A lot of minor off-road problems can become incredibly serious just because no one knows where you are. A minor vehicle breakage in the middle of nowhere can strand you there for days if no one knows where you could be. If there is someone who knows where you can possibly be, a search party can be organized if you did not return in time.
Of course the chances of this happening to you might be slim. But it is always better to be safe than sorry. Tell someone about your trip.
3. Pack All Necessary Gear
Before hitting the off-road, you should pack all the necessary off-roading gears. It’s very important to pack the proper gear to get passed through any problems and to handle any medical emergencies you might face.
The list of necessary gear can vary depending on off-road trips. Some trips may require the full set of camping gear and ratios, while others may require just a first aid kit, winch and some other recovery tools.
Having the right tools for every possible situation you can get yourself into is a surefire way to make sure that the trip is successful. If you have all the necessary tools to keep yourself safe and back on the road always – then the adventure becomes more enjoyable rather than stressful.
4. Always Keep a Winch Mounted In Your Vehicle
Imagine you’re driving off-road and suddenly your vehicle got stuck in sand, mud or a trunk. In this situation, you need high pulling power to unstuck your vehicle. That’s where a winch comes in to rescue. So, you should always keep a winch in your jeep.
A winch is basically a necessity on the off-road. It is like water or food. Because you are venturing out into unknown terrains and environments, you have to make sure that you have the tool to get yourself out of them.
If you don’t have a winch for your jeep, then buy one before hitting the off-road. While purchasing, you need to consider a lot of factors to pick the best winch. You should consider winch capacity, motor type, gear type, rope type and mounting options to determine which winch will be best for you. It will be better if you pick winch from a renowned brand.
I’ve also reviewed some of the top quality electric winches from five renowned brands. They’re X-Bull, Smittybilt, Superwinch, Badland and Warn Winches. You can also read my article on chainsaw winch review.
5. If You Can’t Walk It, You Probably Shouldn’t Drive It
Before you take your vehicle to the area you’re planning to go to, you should make time to walk there first. Though off-roading vehicles can easily navigate many difficult paths, there are a lot of paths that can’t be driven through.
Walking the path first is the best way to ensure if your vehicle can make the trip. If you’re unable to walk through an area because of sand, mud, deep water or other obstacles, then the chances of becoming successful are low for your vehicle too. So, if you can’t walk it, then you shouldn’t drive it.
Of course, if the trip takes days by car, then it might not really be a good idea to walk the distance beforehand. However, the principle still applies. If you can’t physically walk a stretch of terrain, then chances are, your vehicle might not be able to traverse it.
6. Concentrate on the Road
If you hold your smartphone in one hand and drive with another hand, then probably your off-roading journey will end soon. Your carelessness can cause serious accidents. So, while driving, be focused on the off-road, completely.
If it is a safe practice to focus on the road when driving on regular roads, then it should be common sense to do so on an off-road. An off-road offers more potential dangers than a regular road. There are dangers that you are not warned about by road signs. Keep your head about you and keep your eyes on the path.
7. Never Drive Alone
An off-road trip can’t be enjoyed as it is expected if you’re going alone. If you have a buddy with you, you have some help. If an emergency occurs, you won’t be out there all alone.
It will also keep you cool when an experienced buddy is with you in case of an emergency. A buddy with a winch, tree saver or tow strap is a great buddy to have. And if you have these recovery tools, you will be a great buddy to others too.
8. Get Ready for the Worst-Case Scenarios
Gloves: Doing recovery work with a naked hand can be very painful. Carry a good quality glove to keep your hands protected.
Clothes: If you’re going off-roading in winter, then you’ll need some warm clothes. It’s better to keep some warm blankets under the seat of your vehicle.
Fire Extinguisher: You’ll need this to prevent any kind of fire damage. Pick one and put them within your hand’s reach.
First-Aid Kit: That’s the one that you need for primary treatment. A good kit will allow you to deal with many kinds of injuries. Fill your first aid kit with some necessary treatment equipment and common medicine for primary treatment.
9. Use your Tools with the Proper Respect
While using your tools, use them with the proper respect. Straps, Rope, Clevises and other tools are under extreme tension when they’re in use. Before using them, you should inspect carefully to ensure they’re in good working condition. And after every use, you should clean and store them properly.
Don’t ever use a material that has signs of damage. Relying on such materials to do heavy pulling is unwise. The amount of damage they have sustained dramatically increases when used in a winching operation. Using damaged winch accessories is a recipe for disaster.
10. Slow and Steady Wins the Race
When it comes to off-roading, speed is actually a very dangerous thing. You should avoid it wherever you can. Drive as slowly as possible to avoid accidents, and only speed up when it’s absolutely necessary.
When you’re driving off-road through rugged terrain, it’s good to keep your vehicle speed below 10mph. Any faster than this can cause a serious accident. Sometimes, you may need a little speed to climb a hill or conquer a hazard. You can speed up that time, no problem but still, you should be careful.
There is a mantra for off-road drivers, “Drive as slow as possible, as fast as necessary.” (I don’t know who the original author of this mantra is, I’ve read it somewhere I can’t remember.) After all, It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Off-roading can be recreational or vocational, but there is a level of danger in every situation which should be taken seriously. Each time you go off-road, follow these 10 tips to keep yourself protected from any kind of danger.