Off-roaders know there is a certain element of risk associated with what they do while exploring the back roads, countryside, and mountaintops. But there are many things you can do to avoid accidents, learn to recover quickly when accidents do occur, and how to prevent fatal accidents when you are just trying to enjoy yourself. Follow these simple steps to avoid becoming a statistic while off-roading.
DON’T RIDE ALONE
The first rule of thumb for any adventure is to never participate in it by yourself. This is true of hiking, camping and even off-roading. You don’t want to find yourself in a deep valley with a broken axle and no one around for miles to help you. Always travel with a buddy; plus, it makes it more fun to know you have a friend if you get tired.
CHECK THE VEHICLE AND TOP IT UP
Always check your fluid levels in your vehicle, especially brake fluid, oil, and fuel. Never leave on anything less than a full tank, and be sure to take extra fuel with you just in case you get lost or have to spend extra time in the backcountry. What’s more, even if you don’t need the fuel, you might happen upon an unfortunate off-roader who didn’t bother to take extra fuel. You will be the hero. Check tyre pressure, test the brakes, check the lights and remember to test the horn. You want to be able to get the attention of other vehicles around you, so always check the horn.
PLAN THE RIDE
Whether you are going into the mountains or whether you are going across country, it is important that you plan a route. Even if you don’t plan to stick to the route exactly, make sure you have a good idea of where you are headed. Also, let someone know where you are going so that if you don’t return as expected, someone back home will be at least somewhat aware of the area you might be found.
Whether you plan to go for an hour or days on end, always pack a few essential supplies to take off-roading. This kit should include a flashlight in case you get stuck at night and tools to make repairs on the go. You should pack a set of tools that could be useful to change tyres or headlights, replace fuses and more. Always pack some food and water. Even if you plan to be gone for a few hours, you never know what can happen while you are off-roading so having some food for you and your passenger can make your wait for help a lot more comfortable.
HAVE A WAY TO COMMUNICATE
Even if you don’t get mobile phone service where you are headed, be sure to bring a flare gun (for use in case of emergency), EPIRB or UHF Radio so you can call for help. Also, remember to take your mobile phone in case you do get service and need to call for help.
LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES
It will happen from time to time that you are not prepared for what the terrain will throw at you. Don’t ignore these lessons the next time you head out on the trail. If you find yourself without food one time, make sure you take food next time you leave in your off-roading vehicle. If your vehicle gets stuck in the mud, have a winch installed on your vehicle. If you find that you run out of fuel, store extra fuel.
If you want to transport loads that exceed the room of your boot or tub, read how to pack your gear correctly and check out the variety of off-road products from Yakima