The Importance of Driver and Vehicle Preparedness before Heading Out.

by AJ Deysel

Fun and Adventure

Ever heard serious offroaders say “lockers before light bars”? Small saying, but with possibly BIG implications if you ever plan to use your off-road vehicle for going on remote trips or trails. Yeah, light bars are fun, and turning the remote dark forest into daylight can definitely help, but what really can mean the difference between good fun adventure, and possibly life-threatening danger? Lockers, or what they represent, capability. Let’s be honest, lights wont get you out of a hole, or make up for a lack of experience. So spend your money on what matters most, first.

What Can Happen

As can often happen off-road and unused tracks, the shoulder of the road can give out and your vehicle can get pulled down into a very deep ditch with only the the front tires having grip, or no grip at all.

For the experienced group of offroaders, this can be a standard that they can be able to crawl out after engaging the front locker, and if that doesn’t work, the driver or the others in the group should have the recovery gear needed to safely extract the stuck rig without harming the vehicle or destroying the trail and surrounding ecology. 

That Is Easy

Although the above scenario seems pretty simple and straight-forward to the experienced wheeler, with the insurgence of new off-roaders and overlanders buying off-road vehicles and hitting the dirt, this may not always be the case. The same situation could very easily be devastating or tragic for the unprepared or inexperienced newbies who have recently discovered the overland and off-road lifestyle. I love the growing interest in the hobby and lifestyle however, I just want all the newcomers and everyone in general to be ready and prepared for most scenarios to prevent fun and adventure turning into danger and tragedy.

Advice On Being Prepared

  • Have the correct recovery gear, and know how to use it.  Don’t open your kinetic rope for the first time having never used one before, and even worse, don’t attach it to a tow-ball or any unrated recovery points, these can easily become fatal under the added kinetic energy.
  • Know what you don’t know, and the limits of your experience.  It is OK to not have all the experience or knowledge, everyone started somewhere. Go out with experienced people, like a professional off-road/overland guide or experienced friends, that way you will gain experience and knowledge from them. Pay attention, ask questions, listen and learn from their experiences.
  • Know your equipment and the capabilities and limitations of your vehicle. Just having lockers won’t get you out of any situation, and are not of much use if you do not know when and how to use them,

Bottom-line for quickly gaining some valuable experience, find a highly rated guide and go on trips with them. Join local clubs and learn from the experienced guys in the club. Join online forums, and read and learn more than commenting intially. When buying and fitting new equipment, ask the store experts as many questions as possible and have them show you how it works or how and when to use it.

Get out, stay safe, and have fun.

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