With perfect weather about, it’s too good not to get out and find something new to 4wd drive and explore.
It is vital that you don’t forget to play it safe; if in doubt don’t take any chances. The quickest way to wreck an awesome day out is hurting yourself or one of your mates.
For me, 4wding is the best fun you can have on wheels. You should however always keep in mind that it is a dangerous hobby. 4wding has the potential to seriously injure or even kill you if you don’t treat it with respect.
Tips to stay safe when four wheel driving
Implement these 10 simple tips and your epic adventure will be much safer.
1. Always carry a first aid kit and fresh water; it’s always better to be prepared and not need it.
2. Communication. If you are in a convoy, talk to each other. If you see something that’s not right or dangerous, let everyone know. If you’re out by yourself keep your 2way radio on scan; you might pick up other vehicles coming towards you and find out helpful information.
3. If in doubt, walk it first. If you are unsure on a section of track, walk it first. I’d rather have a look on foot then end up stuck somewhere dodgy trying to back out or attempting to turn around.
4. Check your depths. Puddles are great fun to charge through and make huge splashes. But someone should always check them first as they might be deeper than you think, have logs or sudden drop off’s that could stop you dead.
5. If in doubt use a spotter. If you are unsure, get some eyes on the outside to guide you through the tough stuff. It’s a better option than sliding off a line and ending up in a dangerous position.
6. You can never have too much light. When 4wding at night, you should always check your surroundings. There might be a drop off beside you and you don’t even know it. Take your time and check every line thoroughly.
7. Don’t be afraid to winch it; sometimes forward is the only way. When you’re trying to get up, over or through something challenging take into account that you might have slid across the line you hoped to take and reversing out might no longer be an option.
There’s nothing wrong with winching if you need to. Just play it safe and only use gear that is in good condition. Always use a dampener and make sure everyone is well clear when the winch is under load.
8. Rated recovery points – reality is most 4WD’s don’t come standard with them. Invest in a set; don’t be an idiot and chance it. We have all heard the stories like ‘I use mine all the time and have never had a drama with it’.
But being realistic that’s just luck; tie down points are not engineered for the force that comes from recovering a stuck fourbie. Same goes for tow balls, it’s stupid and dangerous, just don’t do it. Use a proper recovery hitch or if you absolutely have to, feed the strap into the 50mm receiver and use the retaining tow pin.
9. Check your gear. If it looks dodgy, it is. Recovery gear is a consumable item and won’t last forever. If it doesn’t look right or you are in doubt that it’ll be good for your next recovery, replace it.
10. Always wear your seat belt and make sure everyone else in your rig is too. No exceptions, no excuses; even crawling in first gear low if the shit hits the fan you can be ejected and killed.
Don’t confuse you ambitions with your capabilities, don’t cave to peer pressure and if you are unsure, ask for help. It’s simple stuff like this that could save your life.
Travel happy, enjoy yourself and stay safe.
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