Off-Roading 101: Common Mistakes to Avoid
Going outside to enjoy the sunshine and sights might mean hiking or fishing for some. But, going off-roading means you get all those benefits, plus a lot more fun and adrenaline than a casual walk through nature.
If you want to spend time with your family, you’re in good company – 76% of people who offroad do it as a way to spend more time with their families outdoors and access vacation spots away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Despite the joys that come with off-roading, there are common mistakes many beginners make when deciding to take it up as a hobby. Today, we will take a look at some common mistakes you should avoid on your next trip.
The worst mistake you can make is not planning at all. Weather conditions can change in an instant, and even if you’ve gone on a trail countless times, new hazards can present themselves in short order.
Check online before your next trip out and figure out what current conditions are like. Find drivers who traveled the paths you want to take recently and see what they’ve written about it.
Not only will this help you know what you’re getting into, but it can prevent you from getting lost when you’re not within range of a cell tower.
Not Keeping an Eye on Weather
We mentioned keeping up to date with planning ahead, but that includes keeping an eye on the weather as well. A beginner-level trail can become an expert-level one if it’s slippery and the ground is soft.
Or, worse yet, what do you do if you get stuck in a storm or another type of dangerous weather condition? What is your emergency plan?
To ensure your safety and ensure you have the most fun possible while off-roading, make sure to check the weather the day of your trip for the area you’ll be off-roading in.
Keeping Tires Too Full
Every vehicle has a maximum PSI designed for smooth pavement and well-groomed dirt roads.
However, if you’re driving on rough terrain with a tire filled to maximum PSI, that’s a great way to find yourself stranded with a popped tire.
The rubber of your tires needs to move with the terrain and absorb impacts against sharp branches and stones without popping. If the pressure is too high, you risk blowouts and getting stranded out in the wilderness.
Check the manufacturer site to see their recommended fill volume for off-roading. It’ll likely be a few pounds per square inch lower than the usual specified maximum PSI.
Taking On Too Much of a Challenge
The fun that comes with off-roading happens because you get to test your limits as a driver and outdoorsman. However, you never want to stray too far away from your comfort zone when it comes to taking on a challenging trail.
If you’re new to off-roading, avoid taking very steep inclines or going over enormous obstacles. Not only can you damage your vehicle, but you might also end up stuck, or end up sustaining injuries.
Slowly work through different courses and practice on ones you’ve mastered multiple times to ensure you’re comfortable with all of the skills required to take on more challenging trails. Push your limits safely, and ensure that you’re never putting yourself into unnecessary danger.
Going Offroading Alone
Going out into nature alone with just the engine’s purr underneath you sounds like a dream, but it’s one of the most dangerous things you can do while off-roading.
Always make sure you have somebody with you every time you go out onto a trail. If you get injured and you’re alone, you’ll either have to sit and wait for someone to find you, or you’ll have to make it back to the beginning of the trail alone. Neither of these is a safe option, and could mean your life.
If you have someone by your side, you have someone who can help you get back to safety. If you encounter a critical failure of a vehicle or need to perform emergency maintenance or repairs, you have an extra set of hands.
Forgetting that Emergencies Happen
The thought of going out for just one quick drive sometimes means we forget to pack our emergency items. It can be a bit of a downer to think of the worst-case scenario, so many of us venture out onto courses with only the clothes on our backs.
But that’s one of the biggest mistakes you can make when heading out on the trail. Make sure you have everything you need in case of an emergency. Your life is at stake, and it’s not worth risking your life for a few extra minutes on the trail.
Here are some of the most common things to have in case of an emergency while off-roading:
- Sleeping bags or a blanket
- A change of warm clothes
- A flashlight
- A shovel
- A wrench
- Recovery straps
- Food and water for two days
- A shovel
- Portable batteries
- Jumpstart Kit
Follow Unspoken Etiquette
Even though you might not be following all traffic laws while you’re off-roading, you still need to be considerate of others on the same trail as you. Not only does this make sure you’re escaping the ire of other drivers, but you’re also ensuring your and others’ safety.
Make sure that vehicles going uphill get the right of way, and make room for those traversing the course by bike, foot, or horseback. In addition, make sure you’re staying only on marked trails, and you’re sticking to a reasonable speed.
Finally, stay away from other vehicles whenever possible and don’t stop or park on the trail. Make sure you’re not presenting a danger to other drivers on the trail: they want to have fun just like you.
Time To Get Ready For Your Offroad Adventure
It is now time to get ready for your offroad adventure. You have your tools, supplies, and checklists and do’s and don’ts.
Whether you’re new to off-roading or an experienced mudder, Mach1 Motorsports has the knowledge to supply you with aftermarket parts and the latest diagnostics equipment. We are focused on providing high-quality service and customer satisfaction, meeting and exceeding your expectations.
Customer service is job number one for us. We promise to be honest and not push you to purchase something you don’t need. We want you to tell your friends about us and come back whenever you need parts, service, or diagnostics.
We will keep your off-road vehicle running like new and ensure that it is repaired correctly so you never get stuck out on the trail. Contact us today to learn what we can do to help you get out on the trails, enjoying the fresh air and challenge of mudding, climbing, or just taking a trail ride.
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