Being a good off-road driver is about more than successfully navigating a vehicle in and out of tough spots. The best and most respected drivers practice a variety of positive habits that set a good example for everyone in the wilderness and help to improve the experience for all.
Here are four simple ways you can practice good off-roading habits. Although these are just a few of the many potential methods, they are among the easiest, and drivers of any experience level can take advantage of these tips:
Be punctual and prepared
Whether you're participating in formal races or just heading out into the wilderness for recreational purposes, you should take steps to be prepared. Complying with local or state laws and respecting the environment are incredibly important. Not only could you face steep fines - or worse - by failing to follow these rules, but you also may put yourself or others at risk. Be respectful of your surroundings and don't leave any evidence of your visit beyond some tire tracks.
If you are attending a formal event, make sure to be punctual. The same can be said of visiting public parks or off-roading facilities. You may have to fill out permit forms, pay entry fees or comply with other time limits, so it's probably worthwhile to do some research ahead of time. Even just a few minutes of effort can allow you to select the right time to show up for off-roading and inform you as to all of the information and gear you'll need.
There will undoubtedly come a time when you find yourself - and your vehicle - stuck in a precarious situation. When that moment arises, you'll probably need some assistance, and it's always a good idea to offer to help fellow drivers when you encounter them in similar scenarios.
An easy way to be able to help others is to have a tool kit and emergency gear stored somewhere in your vehicle. Recovery straps and jumper cables are good basics to have, and the rest of your chosen equipment will likely depend on the type of off-road driving you are doing. Some factors will also depend on the geography of the region and the time of year. For example, in the winter, it is a good idea to have some type of sand or gravel in the winter, as it can improve traction.
Put safety first
No matter what situation you are in, safety should come first. While most drivers know they should be driving the speed limit and obeying the general rules of the road, anyone participating in off-roading needs to make sure all truck or Jeep modifications are safely installed. This usually requires testing out new additions to a vehicle before you get out in the wilderness to ensure everything is functioning properly.
Always keep tinkering
You may have successfully modified your truck or Jeep to create the off-road vehicle of your dreams, but that doesn't mean you're done. Lift kits and other vehicle enhancements are constantly evolving, so that means your automobile should be as well. You also have to be dedicated to providing consistent maintenance for a vehicle. After a round of intense off-road driving, some of your alterations or equipment may have been damaged, so it is important to check all of your gear before and after an experience. As technology advances and tools get safer, you may also want to consider making some new investments so you are always at the forefront.