Off road drivers are modern-day explorers who greet the unknown with courage and determination. When traveling off the beaten path, however, it is these very attributes that can get people in trouble. Following are four ways to make your next off road trip just as safe and successful as you are ambitious and fearless.
- Stick to the Trail
Blazing your own trail can leave you stuck in the middle of nowhere. It can also damage your vehicle. It’s best to stick to paths that have been previously used. With these, you’ll know in advance that clearing the trail is possible, and you’ll also be minimizing your impact on the natural environment. Keep in mind, however, that just because other drivers have been able to traverse a specific trail successfully, this doesn’t mean that you can too. These individuals may have more off-road experience, better vehicles, the right off road vehicle accessories, or the opportunity to pass before any rain hit. As such, you should always drive at a slow and careful pace; going only as fast as you need to.
- Get Out and Walk First
Walking a stretch of unfamiliar land before attempting to drive it will give you a better understanding of whether or not crossing this way is actually possible. After all, if you’re not able to negotiate muddy, sandy, or flooded areas on foot, you probably won’t be able to clear them in your vehicle either. Also, be sure to carefully check all areas that are covered in water. Relatively large, standing bodies of water could be covering big holes.
- Pack for Survival
One of the best ways to stay safe when traveling off road is by simply making sure that you have everything you need. Given that there’s always the potential of getting stuck somewhere and having to wait for help, you’ll need a warm sleeping bag, plenty of water, a few, high-energy foods, and extra clothes. You should also have a several items for resolving common, minor, vehicle-related issues such as a high-lift jack, a hand winch, a tow strap, a shovel, and wood blocks. Off road enthusiasts should also always travel with comprehensive first aid kits.
- Let Someone Know Where You’re Going
Before heading out, let a close family member or friend know where you’ll be traveling and how long you intend to be gone. This way, if you don’t return within a reasonable amount of time, they’ll know where to send the search party. Although going off road is often an exciting, independent activity, you should still keep people back at home sufficiently informed.