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One of the best pieces of advice you can get as an off-road enthusiast is to go with a group. Though being with a group doesn’t guarantee that you won’t run into problems, it sure does help to have friends with you to help you fix whatever problems may arise.
When you’re convoying on the trail, though, you need to follow some 4×4 convoy rules. And these rules should be discussed amongst the group before you hit the trail – otherwise you’ll likely find that each member of the convoy has some different ideas regarding how to proceed.
We’ll explore these rules in today’s article, so buckle in and let’s get started!
4×4 Convoy Rules: Have One Leader
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Just like you can have too many cooks in the kitchen, you can also have too many convoy leaders on the trail.
By picking one person to be the leader, you establish a hierarchy of decision making. Typically, the leader is not only the person that got the trip together, but they should also be the lead vehicle in the convoy. After all, if they organized the trip, they probably know where they’re going too!
Pro Tip: Select someone to be the designated caboose, or the last person in the convoy. This person and the convoy leader should have a reliable means of communicating with one another to ensure the entire convoy is accounted for.
When Convoying, Communication is Key
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Not every single person in the convoy needs to have a radio. So long as the drivers in the first and last vehicles in the convoy have communications with one another, all should be fine.
Not only is communication key for keeping the convoy together, but the leader also needs to be able to radio back regarding everything from trail conditions to obstacles on the trail to which fork in the trail to take. In these situations, it’s helpful for all rigs in the convoy to have communications, but, again, so long as the person in the rear knows what’s going on, the convoy should have no trouble sticking together.
Pro Tip: When you’re convoying, it’s common courtesy to mark the corners when trails diverge. Simply begin to take the turn, and then wait until the vehicle behind you sees which way you go. They will repeat the process for the person behind them, and so on and so forth, until the last vehicle makes the turn. Doing so will ensure that no one from the convoy gets lost.
4×4 Convoy Rules: Space Out Each Vehicle
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Giving the vehicle in front of you enough space to maneuver is critical for their safety and for yours.
Sometimes, the vehicle in front of you might need to back up in order to have another go at an obstacle on the trail. Backing up means they don’t need your bumper up their rear end! Besides, it’s far simpler to space out the vehicles in the convoy and allow the vehicle in the front to reverse when needed, rather than all of you having to reverse at the same time.
Vehicle spacing is important in many other situations as well. When driving on a dirt road, back off a bit so the dust trail from the rig in front of you doesn’t blind you. Likewise, when crossing rivers or muddy bogs, let the vehicle in front of you get cleared first and then take your turn. It’s much easier to extract one vehicle from a mess than an entire convoy!
Have Fun on the Trail
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Safety considerations aside, one of the most important rules of the 4×4 convoy is to have fun. Enjoy your time with your family and friends out on the trail. Get your rig dirty. Explore new trails. Revel in the joy of being in the outdoors.
Sure, safety is paramount, so look out for one another. But don’t be so serious and so stressed out about the rigors of off-roading that you neglect to enjoy yourself either!