Some of the greatest adventures involve offloading with your 4×4. Amazing tales of navigating through uncharted territory come from taking your 4×4 off the beaten path. While these experiences are unparalleled, be sure to consider safety a top priority when preparing to drive out into the unknown. Take the time to read the following tips for keeping your 4×4 safe this season while still partaking in the reason you invested in a 4×4 in the first place – to have fun.
1. Do your research – It’s just good sense to ensure that the path you choose is legal to drive on. Some of the best intentions for a day out end in unexpected fines if you avoid checking on whether or not you can be there. Testing out your 4×4 shouldn’t be an expensive endeavor. Be sure to take the time to properly investigate the area you will be driving in before firing up that engine.
2. Be conscious of your environment – Consider the wildlife in the area. This is their home and you are a visitor. It’s best to stick to the paths cleared out by those who rode before you. Most wild animals will avoid paths that are higher traffic areas. It’s when you wander too far off course that disrupting dens, nests, and other important habitats becomes a possibility. Consider your surroundings when letting the engine scream and respect the environment.
3. 4-wheel-drive is a must – It’s never too early to engage the 4-wheel-drive. This will help when entering the rough stuff and keep your driving experience fun, but safe. Once the path gets messy, it’s too late and getting stuck before you start becomes a real possibility. Getting stuck in the mud is no picnic and no one wants to have to make the embarrassing call home explaining why their 4×4 needs a tow.
4. Slow and steady – If you take your time, it will be even more of an adventure! Most vehicles get stuck or damaged because their driver overestimates speed capability and no one likes getting stuck without a means to get home. Taking the time to get a feel for what type of driving is necessary is critical on unfamiliar terrain. This may just turn you into a better driver.
5. Be honest with yourself – Each 4×4 driver has varying levels of driving skill. Respect your limits and your offroad adventure will be a blast! Push yourself too far and it may require a rescue or repair. If the conditions of the trail are less than ideal, don’t be afraid to move on to another. There are enough places in our beautiful state of Colorado that will match your skill level.
6. Be connected – If you are traveling far from civilization or offloading alone, be sure to carry along a means of communication. It helps to let others know of the route you are taking just in case your 4×4 gets stuck in the mud or stranded in some other way. When others know your whereabouts, it encourages you to drive responsibly.
7. Always be prepared – Accidents happen. Even the most experienced offroader makes a mistake every now and then. It doesn’t hurt to carry a change of clothes, food, and a means to camp should the need become a reality. It helps to be prepared for any emergency and one hopes those previsions will never be used.
The excitement of taking your 4×4 out for its first offloading trip of the season is unparalleled, but don’t let it cloud your judgement on safety concerns. If you have a question about your 4×4′s preparedness for a summer excursion, bring it by All American Four Wheel Drive & Auto Repair for a diagnostic test. Our expert technicians will offer sound advice and present you with all options necessary to get your ride where it needs to be.