You’re out with a few friends on an off-road adventure somewhere in the woods. As you power across the dirt, you make a wrong turn, and your car gets stuck, or worse yet, it develops mechanical problems with no signal or roads nearby, you’re poised for a tumultuous time.
While on paper, off-road adventures may look fun and intriguing, the act itself demands proper preparation.
Here are seven essentials for a better off-road driving experience.
Nothing beats a solid plan. Things rarely go wrong when you map out the details of your drive beforehand. In case they do, you always have a backup plan for each obstacle the road throws at you.
The ideal plan should involve:
CHOOSING A DESTINATION
Although it’s doubtful that you’ll wake up and drive off, intricate planning improves your dirt road experience.
If you plan on chattering into unfamiliar territory, conducting due diligence of things like the terrain and weather helps you avoid problems by allowing you to select a suitable machine like the ones over at Hancock County CD JR for such conditions.
MAPPING THE ROUTE
Your plans should include the roads, driveways, and trails you will use. Understanding the routes to use allows you access to vital information like the nearest gas station, rangers office, camp spots, or other areas of interest.
Regardless of your destination, route, or length of stay, adequate packing is essential. The best gear to carry with you is the one that has a meaningful purpose. For example, for any off-road adventures, you require an emergency toolbox complete with a shovel, pull rope, and winch in case of breakdown.
HAVING A BUDDY SYSTEM
Off-road adventures are more exciting when you have a group of people with you. It can be friends, family, or any other acquaintances. The intention is to have back up who can provide support when and where needed.
LEARN THE NECESSARY DRIVING SKILLS
Although you already know how to drive and hold a legitimate driving license, it doesn’t guarantee a smooth off-road driving experience. The art of driving in the dirt requires skills greater than what the standard ride demands.
Some of the necessary skills you need to maneuverer the tricky terrain include:
While you may be used to driving fast on smooth roads, a rocky surface requires much more caution and minimal speed. Perhaps there’s a log in the in-between the grass or rock underneath the dirt that might cause irreparable damage to your car when hit at high speed.
Learning to slow down when in such terrains is the first skill you must master to become a better off-road driver.
You’re probably used to handling your cell phone with one hand and driving with the other when cruising through more modern roads. However, this is not possible when a slight loss in concentration may result in an accident or vehicle damage on rough roads.
DON’T DRIVE AT NIGHT
No matter how tempting driving off-road at night is, you should always avoid such experiences. When dark, you can barely see anything regardless of the number of lights you have on, and as such, it is easy to get trapped in hidden obstacles.
Driving during this time is dangerous to animals that are more active at night as you may hit them unknowingly.
USE LOW RPM
Although you may think that driving through an off-road landscape requires top gear every time, a good driver knows the best times to accelerate and slow down. Continually keeping your car at the highest gear may affect engine performance and, in turn, negatively affect your trip.
AVOID PLACING YOUR THUMBS INSIDE THE STEERING WHEEL
If you often place your thumbs inside the steering wheel when driving, making the same mistake while on the off-road adventures might cost you a thumb. When the front tires hit an obstacle, and your thumbs don’t tightly grip the wheel, you run the risk of turning your thumbs inside out.
Although it is a problem that is medically solvable, the pain and ripple effects are the worst. You’ll probably have to stay away from driving for some time.
BE CLEVER ABOUT OBSTACLES
One thing that’s certain when driving through the dirt is obstacles. Hindrances coming in various forms and shapes can prove problematic to even the most experienced drivers.
Instead of facing such obstacles head-on and losing, use smart alternatives to get out of the problem. For example, if you encounter a swampy area, you must realize that such places often have roundabouts that cars can use.
Always be smart when facing obstacles during driving that prove impossible. Include techniques that make driving simple like:
- Water crossing
Use these techniques, especially when in snowy, muddy, or rainy conditions.
UNDERSTAND YOUR VEHICLE
Although challenging terrains require heavy machinery for better navigation, you can use any car provided you understand it correctly. Getting to know the different aspects of your car, like the tires, helps you hit the ground fast.
No matter how strong your vehicle power is, it is useless unless this energy translates to the tires. Use these tips to find the perfect tire for your car.
STICK TO THE ORIGINAL
The safest and more preferable choice for your car is its original tires. Always replace old tires with similar choices in the market as the design is specific for your car.
In the event you desire a change, the below tips will prove valuable.
GO FOR HANDLING AND COMFORT
The tires should enhance the overall handling and braking capability of your car.
CHOOSE THE ALL-SEASON TIRES
When in doubt of the kind of tires your vehicle needs, it is always better to go with the all-season tires. These types have a solid grip and can endure all sorts of terrains, including the off-road.
Driving involves on-road and off-road experiences. To be the best driver, you must be good in both these areas as they are all part of the driving process. Boost your off-road driving experience by planning, gaining the relevant skills, and understanding your vehicle.
Photo Credit: Toyota