This is an introduction and tips guide to off-road driving. Whether you’re new, a seasoned veteran to the sport or just stuck, this will help you. Basics like “How to engage your 4×4” and “opening your hood” are covered in your user manual, usually located in your glove box, go ahead give that a quick read first! Assuming you’ve done so, let’s move on.
That moment when you hit dirt for the first time I guarantee you’ll have a new outlook on your vehicle, good or bad, probably good.. Really good. Whether you drive a Jeep, Range Rover, Ford or Honda someone has built it into a bad ass off road machine! So search some videos or builds online and see what your rig is capable of, bet you’ll be inspired.
Back to you in the dirt, don’t just go rip through some guys field! He will NOT cheer you on. You will most likely get a ticket or worse. Let’s assume you have friends, hopefully one with a 4×4 that knows a legal area or has permission from the land owner to take you. This brings up a very important beginner tip NEVER GO ALONE! We have all broken this rule and learned the hard way, walking miles home in the cold. The only exception would be if it’s on your own or a friends land with good communication and a recovery vehicle nearby, even this is not recommended.Wheel around for a bit, try and hit different terrains and see what limitations you and your vehicle have. Start small, don’t drive into a river or a cliff face quite yet. You will be surprised even with a stock 4×4. Try and get stuck to see what needs tweaked or upgraded, let your friends pull you out.
Speaking of recoveries let’s touch base! BEFORE you go anywhere, make sure you have at least one safe recovery point on the front and rear of your vehicle. If it’s rusty or bent or to small to fit a shackle through, replace it! Make sure to throw a recovery strap in your truck as well. There are many tools you will end up needing the more adventurous you get and the more you find yourself spinning tires, but for now a friend and a strap will get you far.Safety! Safety! Safety! I’ll repeat it if I need to..
-Always be aware of your surroundings including the vehicle behind and in front of you.
-Walk ahead as far as you can to assess the trail.
-Slow down! Only go as fast as you need to get across or over the obstacle ahead.
-Make sure someone has a fully charged cell phone, try and bring a charger as well!
-Bring double the water you think your crew will need.
-Get a buddy to hop out and guide you over tricky obstacles or anywhere you feel uncomfortable.
-When your friends in the back all say you can’t do it.. Throw them out and give er hell! No, they’re probably right.
-Do not wear black! You might live, but it won’t help your chances.
To be continued..
Author/Photos- Ty Reid
Editor- Katie Diamanti