Staying Safe While Off-Road
With the warmer weather finally here, more and more people are hitting the road and setting out on their summertime adventures. While the beach or an amusement park may be exciting enough for some, true thrill seekers are looking for something more electrifying like taking their vehicle off the beaten bath and going off-road. While being off-road can definitely be a rush, it can turn ugly and dangerous if you are not prepared with the right skills and the right equipment. Here is what you need to know to stay safe on the off-beaten path and keep off-roading the thrilling adventure it should be.
Know the Terrain
Being surprised by a risky or severe portion of the trail can be very dangerous, so it is important to have an idea of what you’re getting into before hitting the road. Should you come across a rough area, make sure to take some time to get out of the car and scout the trail ahead. Taking those few minutes can provide some valuable insight into what the next section of the drive will be like. However, it is important to remember also that off-road is about driving – instead of scouting the entire terrain before heading out, you need to learn how to read the terrain while driving and how to handle as many situations as possible.
Lower the Pressure
In just about any off-road situation, having lower tire pressure often means having better traction. Lowering the pressure in the vehicle’s tires helps the tire sidewall and tread to bend and mold around rocks and other trail obstacles. Not only does the tire get more tread this way, it also allows for a smoother, better ride in the cab. Rocky terrain isn’t the only one that benefits from lower tire pressure – deep-snow driving and sand dune terrain also requires lower tire pressure. Lower pressure allows the tire to have a wider footprint, allowing it to easily glide on top of the sand or snow instead of sinking in.
Have Recovery Gear
Even the best off-road drivers with all the tricks get stuck on the trail every now and again. When this inevitably happens, it is important to have the right gear to get yourself unstuck. For example, a rugged floor mat can be helpful when one is placed under each tire, and filling holes or stacking rocks can also be useful to get out in a pinch. For those times when you get really stuck, having a heavy duty two-inch-wide tow strap with fabric loops instead of hooks can help to pull the vehicle out of the area.
Think you or someone you know is need of Behind the Wheel Training? Training Wheels is an Egg Harbor City driving school specializing in teaching new teen drivers how to stay safe on the road. For more information on our lessons, please click here.
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