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The Worst Off-Road Mistakes You Can Make

 photo by RonBailey via iStock

We all make mistakes, no matter how long we’ve been doing a certain activity. Some mistakes must be avoided at all costs though, they are the ones that can lead to serious injury, broken 4WDs, and stranded adventurers.

Today we are diving into the worst off-road mistakes one can make when out off-roading. 

Worst Off-Road Mistakes: Non-Rated Recovery gear

ties and shackles

 photo by DarthArt via iStock

You’ve probably heard it a million times. Non-rated recovery points, snatch straps, steel shackles and soft shackles can end up breaking. This may result in vehicle damage, serious injury, or even death. 

The first modification anyone should do on their 4WD is add rated recovery points and gear to their accessory collection.

However, even with the proper recovery accessories, things can still go wrong. Therefore, make sure you stand far away from the recovery. 

Not Checking Bog Holes

Off-Road Mistake: 4x4 stuck in deep muddy water

 photo by shaunl via iStock

A trail full of bog holes can lead to the best day ever or your 4WD stuck window deep in the stinkiest water. You don’t want that. The safest way to cross them is by checking their depth. 

Even grabbing a stick and putting it inside to see how deep it is can save you from making one of the worst off-road mistakes. 

Don’t be fooled by the small ones, they can get really deep especially in the middle. Bear in mind that when your truck goes through it, it will dig into the mud on the bottom; therefore, the water level will be even higher than you think. 

Worst Off-Road Mistakes: Panicking

SUV submerged in water

 photo by pamspix via iStock

One of the worst mistakes many people make is panicking when a vehicle gets bogged in deep water or on the beach when the tide is coming in.

Of course, you need to move quickly to save the vehicle. But when panicking, the worst mistakes tend to happen. A person might be behind the truck while you are trying to reverse, or the wrong recovery gear might be used as a result of a rushed decision. 

The best thing to do in such situations is to evaluate and decide which is the most effective way to recover the truck. 

Always remember that a car can be replaced, a person’s life can’t. 

Pointing and Shooting

Off-Road Mistakes:

 photo by Jaroslav Frank via iStock

The best way to make sure you make it up a technical climb or a very rocky section is to get out and walk the path. This will allow you to pick the best lines possible that will ensure your truck makes it through under its own steam. 

Picking a line while driving up a hill can lead to a failed attempt or even worse – damage to your vehicle. 

In some situations, if the section is off-cambered or has big steps, the line you choose might be the difference between putting your beloved rig on its lid or making it through unscathed.

Learn More:

Worst Off-Road Mistakes: Not Checking those river crossings

4x4 Crossing a River

 photo by mdurinik via iStock

River crossings can be a tricky obstacle. In normal water crossings, there are usually two things you want to check. First, the depth and second how soft the bottom is.

However, when crossing rivers, you also want to check how fast the river is flowing. 

If a river is deep but the current isn’t strong you can probably cross. If the current is strong your vehicle will become a boat and sail down-stream – not good. 

If the depth is shallow and the current strong you are safe to cross. 

The best way to check the flow of a river is to walk it. Be careful when walking rivers though, you might not get swept away – but depending on where you are in the world, some reptiles you do not want to share a river with might be living there.

Not Bringing the Necessary Tools With You

Tools on a Wall

 photo by Carlo107 via iStock

There is a complete article covering all the tools you will need to carry with you on a remote adventure; however, for short trips those are excessive. 

Don’t get fooled into thinking that on short single-day trips you should head out unprepared though. If you do not have the correct tools even a flat tire can leave you stranded – and when off road, help will be hard to find. 

Worst Off-Road Mistakes: Stopping on Blind Corners

beginner off-road mistakes Blind corner on dirt road

 photo by jxfzsy via iStock

One of the simplest off-road mistakes that often gets overlooked is stopping on blind corners. It can lead to a crash in the middle of nowhere, which will for sure be embarrassing and will probably leave you stranded. 

Consider using the horn when going around corners in case there is someone parked or coming the other way. 

Peer Pressure

4x4 truck getting air over on a hill

 photo by MousePotato via iStock

Every adventure is better with friends; however, sometimes things might get out of hand. Peer pressure can force you into obstacles you or your vehicle are not ready to tackle and most times, the outcome will be bad. 

Know your own limits and the limits of your vehicle before undertaking any kind of challenge. And don’t listen to your friends – they might have had a few too many beers. 

Worst Off-Road Mistakes: Only Relying on Your Hand Brake

Hand Break

 photo by Aleksandr Potashev via iStock

This isn’t just true for Land Cruiser owners with their appalling hand brakes. Whenever you park your 4WD put it in gear and then pull your hand brake.

This will ensure that your vehicle will stay where you left it and won’t end up in a ditch or a tree.

What is your worst-off road mistake? Or better still, do you have any additional mistakes you’d like to add? Let us know!

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