Driving Smart Off Road Isn’t As Hard As You Think

For many of us, driving off road is a fun adventure. But, often, we’re inexperienced, and it can be more stress than a fun adventure. Recently Jaguar revealed that it’s making autonomous off-road vehicles. It’s designed to eliminate the stress by eliminating the human. But that’s just throwing the baby out with the bathwater. We don’t want to give up the human element yet. Going off road is about having a blast. Here’s how.

Pick The Right Gear

Off-road, you’ll be confronted with inclines and declines you’re just not used to on the road. There will be sections that are one-in-two and possibly greater. It’s at sections like these where you’ll have to get clued up about the type of gears available on your 4×4. Most 4x4s have what’s called a “low-range” gearset. This gear set is contained within the engine itself. And it allows you to deliver power to the wheels more gradually. It’s this gradual power that can be a godsend if you ever get stuck in the mud. Applying a lot of power just spins the wheels. But using small amounts of torque can ease you out of a ditch or up a muddy embankment.

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That’s not to say that you should always stay in a super low gear. When you’re going off road, momentum is going to save you from most sticky situations. On the trail, you should go as fast as the trail will allow, but as slow as necessary while you’re stuck.

Night Lights

Off-roading during the day can be fun. But if you’re an owner of a 4×4, there’s every chance you’ll also be going off road at night. This is particularly the case for people who live in northern climes and have short days during the winter. That’s why it’s so important to install LED light bars on the front of your Jeep or Land Cruiser. Standard models rarely come with the light output to fully illuminate the track ahead. And that can mean that you fail to see obstacles and hazards in your path. People who are serious about driving smart off road invest in additional headlamps.

Recovery Equipment

Even the pros sometimes get stuck in their 4x4s. But that doesn’t mean that they have to spend the night stuck in their vehicles. To avoid disaster, make sure you take a recovery kit with you. The most important piece of equipment in this kit is a 2-inch wide tow strap with fabric hooks at the end. Make sure you attach these hooks to the frame of your 4×4. Don’t attach it to the bumper or the axle, as this can cause damage.

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If you know you’re going to be a long way from civilization; it’s also a good idea to take an electric winch with you. The winch needs to be rated for a weight about 1.5 times the weight of the vehicle you drive. Jeep does their own winch, called the Wrangler. And it’s rated at 8500 lbs.

You can also buy complete recovery kit sets from companies like Warn if you don’t want to pick up all the pieces individually.

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