You’re racing your way down a muddy path on the outskirts of town, taking in another great afternoon off-roading adventure in your trusty 4×4 truck. Suddenly, your truck starts to slow and the mud gets unexpectedly deeper. You suddenly come to a stop, sinking down into the mud; you’re stuck. It’s the worst thing that can happen when off-roading, especially if you’re by yourself. To avoid getting stuck, we’ve put together a list of the most common mistakes people make while off-roading, so you can ensure they don’t happen to you.
Mistake: not knowing your off-roading route
This is a big one. The route you plan to take while off-roading should ideally be a route you know well. If you don’t know the route, encountering unknown terrain changes like sudden drop-offs, steep inclines, unexpected ruts in the trail could not only damage your truck, but also might end up causing severe injuries.
Before you head out, make sure you know your route. Talk to others who have off-roaded there before and ask for any tips and surprises along the way. Download maps of the area to your phone, so you can take it with you.
Walk through the route on foot to find any areas you want to avoid in your truck, or look it over from a safe vantage point. Knowing your route is one of the best preparations you can make for a successful off-roading adventure, so be sure you don’t skip this step.
Mistake: not checking water depth
Encountering standing water while off-roading is a common occurrence and it’s one that comes with a few ground rules. Many people get stuck crossing water in their trucks simply because they didn’t take the time to check the depth of the water. It’s easy to assume that river crossings or standing water looks shallower than it truly is, just from looking at it through your windshield.
Take the time to get out and check the water’s depth yourself. Wade in yourself if you feel it’s safe to do so, or grab a stick and find the bottom of the water. Make sure that your air intake won’t be lower than the water’s surface. Move confidently to ensure your truck doesn’t get stuck in any mud below the surface of the water.
Mistake: being overconfident
Off-roading takes a good level of confidence to be successful, but being too confident is a recipe for disaster. Being too aggressive in your off-roading will result in flipping your vehicle, careening too fast on declines, or damaging the environment around you.
When you approach obstacles that you’re unsure how to tackle, take a moment to assess the situation and proceed with the best possible maneuvers instead of just hitting the gas pedal harder. Sometimes off-roading is a marathon, not a sprint, and that’s part of what makes it fun.
Biggest off-roading mistake: going alone
The biggest mistake you can make is simply to not bring along a buddy when you go off-roading. All of the issues discussed here have much easier solutions is you have a friend along with you, able to pull you out of the mud or drive you to safety if you get injured.
Off-roading in pairs reduces the risk of getting lost or being stranded, plus you’re able to bring along more supplies like safety equipment and food. Having another vehicle with you when you’re off-roading will guarantee you’ll be able to get home safely. Off-roading is a fun adventure, but it’s important to remember that there are always risks involved.
Follow these tips to avoid making some of the most common off-roading mistakes, and you’ll be prepared for a memorable and exciting trip.