Taking your vehicle off-roading can be awesome fun but it can be dangerous and you need to know how to handle the terrain properly if you are going to keep on track and stay safe.
Here are some pointers on how to avoid some of the classic off-roading mistakes, including why it’s good to have some company, how to avoid a water problem, plus some pointers on good tire management.
The problem with going solo
If you are at the wheel of a vehicle like the Jeep Grand Cherokee you might decide to take off for an off-road adventure and if it is a last-minute thing you might think it be will be fine to make a solo trip.
Nothing wrong with going it alone, as long as you are experienced enough and know exactly how to get yourself out of trouble, but there are definite risks attached to that decision.
Even if you are an accomplished off-roader and have the skills to get yourself out of a few potential tight spots, the fact that you have gone solo leaves you very vulnerable if your vehicle breaks down or you have an accident.
It is much safer to bring a passenger who can provide an extra pair of eyes and help if you run into trouble.
Tell someone your plans
Another rookie error to avoid is to set off on your trip without telling anyone where you are going.
It doesn’t take any time to post a message on social media or send a text message to let someone know exactly where you have gone.
You wouldn’t set off on a trek into the wilderness without telling someone about your plans and the same rules apply to going off-roading. If someone knows where you are and when you get back they can raise the alarm if you don’t return, which is good news if you stuck somewhere and could do with some assistance.
Watch out for water
Always know the depth of the water you are going to be crossing and it always pays to be cautious when approaching any stream or creek where you can’t be certain about how deep the water is.
It will be too late if you suddenly plunge into water that is much deeper than you thought, so take a moment to check it out and measure the depth. You don’t really want the water getting any higher than your headlights if you are looking for a rough guide on what could be a safe level to drive through.
Get your tire and other tactics right
Not using the right tires is a potential recipe for disaster and attempting to go off-roading using worn-out or unsuitable tires is a hazardous scenario that could end badly.
Some of the main reasons you suffer tire failure when off-roading include under-inflation and irregular tread wear. Inspect the tires before you set off and consider investing in a set of proper off-road tires if you are a regular.
Other tips to worth mentioning are the need to carry a decent medical kit and some provisions with you in case of an emergency. It would also be sensible to take it easy when trying a new trail, as it’s not worth rolling your vehicle to find out where you shouldn’t be going so fast.