Off-roading can be awesome fun but in order to deliver your driving entertainment in the safest way possible under the circumstances, there are a few simple but essential rules and strategies that you need to keep in mind.
Here are some safety rules and pointers to help you enjoy an off-road adventure that doesn’t end badly, with tips on why you need to let someone know your plans, why a convey works, how to prepare for the trail, plus some worthwhile driving techniques and strategies to consider.
Spread the word before you go
If you are behind the wheel of a vehicle like the Jeep Cherokee you will probably be itching to put it through its paces and go off-road, but before you set out on your journey it will be a good safety strategy to give someone you know the details of your location and planned route.
It is always best to expect the unexpected and if you have the backup of knowing that someone is looking out for your return and can raise the alarm if they don’t hear from you, this is a sensible strategy for getting help as quickly as possible when you need it.
Always tell someone your off-roading plans regardless of how challenging you think the route is, that way you are covered if things go wrong and help will on the way.
Not only is it a great idea to share the adventure with some buddies but safety in numbers is another excellent safety strategy.
Always try to travel with at least one other vehicle, so that you can look out for each other and you will have some form of transportation and help if you get stuck or your vehicle is damaged and you can’t go any further.
Pack for survival
You never know when things might go wrong when you are off-roading and even a seemingly simple stroll across sand can turn sour in an instant for any number of reasons.
Make sure you always carry a suitable survival pack on board, which includes some tools to be able to dig or pull your vehicle out of a tight spot, some medical supplies in case you get an injury, plus some provisions in case you have to wait around for a while for help to arrive.
Driving tips worth remembering
Learning from your mistakes is one way to gain the knowledge you need to enjoy a safe off-road experience but it makes a lot of sense to remember a few pearls of wisdom that many regular off-roaders always try to heed.
One of the best mantras to remember when driving off-road is that you should drive as slow as possible but as fast as necessary.
Basically, a little bit of extra speed is required to climb hilly terrain but going too fast can often be a recipe for disaster, so try to find a happy medium that allows you to negotiate your course with suffering damage to your vehicle or getting stuck.
Also, try to walk your chosen route before you attempt it in your vehicle. If you find yourself getting stuck in mud or other obstacles while on foot there’s a fair chance even an off-road vehicle might struggle.
Finally, always check your tires for tread and to make sure they are at the right pressure.
Even a fancy hi-tech four-wheel drive system is not going to perform to its best if your tires aren’t up to the task.