Before you get on the trail know your vehicle ! This can not be expressed enough.
- Read the owners manual.
- Know where the “low” points are, such as differentials, or steering components.
- Visualize how tall and wide vehicle is. Will it fit between those huge rocks? under those low tree limbs?
- Where is the pivot point?
- Departure angle?
- Break over angle?
- Departure angle?
- Check the route on foot first to locate potential hazards . Remember trails change with the seasons, and use. The trail that was easy last month could be more aggressive this trip due to rain and excess use.
If you are going to be driving over big rocks or deep ruts, remove the spoiler from vehicles like a Discovery. Also, it’s a good idea to remove running boards and steps that can be damaged!
Remember the exhaust system and the catalytic converters can get extremely hot! This can cause fires in dry grass and brush. Stay alert to fire dangers!
Remember the old adage; drive as slow as possible and as fast as necessary. This is not the Dakar or Baja Rallies.
Secure all tools and cargo. You do not want unexpected projectiles flying around inside the cab or gear lost on the trails.
Safety on the trail
Travel in a group of two or more vehicles. When caravanning off road, always keep visual contact with the vehicle behind you. If they disappear from sight, stop! This allows the caravan to stop as a whole and render aide if needed. If following someone, make sure you keep that vehicle in sight as well.
If you are apprehensive or nervous about an obstacle, get in contact with the group leader or a more experienced member of the group. They will be glad to help guide you through!
- Be considerate of others on the road or trail.
- Respect the environment and the rights of others.
- Drive only where permitted.
- Leave gates as you find them.
- Yield the right-of-way to bikes, horses and hikers.
- Keep the noise and dust down. Others willappreciate it.
- Pack out what you pack in.
- Buckle up for safety.
- Drinking and driving don’t mix. Wait until the evening spent in comrade, swapping stories.
- Stay on designated roads and trails or other areas open for use.
- If motorcycles or ATVs are on the trail, give them the the right of way.
- Remember: if you abuse it, you will probably lose it!
Careless operation of your off-highway vehicle can cause damage and may result in closing of areas to four-wheel enthusiasts . By using common sense and common courtesy, what is available today will be here to enjoy tomorrow!