The summer is here and more people are getting out on the trails and dirt with their 4x4s. This is wonderful, but if you are a first time off-roader there might be somethings to consider. I know you think you are prepared for anything in your 4×4 truck or SUV that has some push buttons for drive modes, locking differentials and even stickers that advertise it is 4×4 capable. However believe it or not, it might put you into a sticky spot still. Here are the rules you need to be aware of.
Don’t ever hit a trail alone
If you only read one rule from this list, you should listen to this one. While it may seem obvious, you should never go down a trail alone. For starters, trails can be hazardous, you probably will get stuck at some point or another and as such having someone with you can get you out.
Even if you get your truck too stuck to get it out, having a buddy is handy. What if you slip and roll your ankle? Or worse suffer a different kind of medical distress? Having someone there to be able to help or even direct resources to you can be life saving.
If in doubt, get out and look
I get the feeling, that one when you are hitting the trail and come around what appears to only be a large puddle but it has you thinking what if it’s more? While you might want to just drive through it, you should get out and double check it, verify the depth and then proceed. The point is, if you don’t know what’s there, check don’t just drive.
Know your vehicle
If you’ve never operated your vehicle on any off road terrain before you should review the manuals and specifications. This will help you understand your vehicle and it’s strengths and weaknesses on off road terrain. Definitely check your tires, and ensure you understand there limitations as most original manufacturer equipment tires will not be design for heavy mud or terrain for example.
If you are going to be in an area with cell coverage then great but otherwise you might want to consider bringing a CB radio or other alternative communication device. Having multiple contact devices is not a bad idea in case one fails or gets broken.
Slow and steady wins the race
This is not the drag strip, you do not need to race through the trail. In fact, you should go slow and steady as with off-roading you want consistent throttle and appropriate pace. The pace may differ depending on where you are in the trail, for example, going up a hill might require you to add more throttle than you think you’d need.