The United States is home to thousands of miles of rugged, off-road adventures or terrain. And much of this country isn’t for the faint of heart. But in order to get out and enjoy the magic of traveling off-road adventures , you really need to be prepared.
Reports have shown that off-road travel is enjoyed by around 20 percent of Americans annually. And though this number has fluctuated over the years, off-road travel is still a popular recreational activity that many outdoor enthusiasts enjoy.
Whether it’s called mud-riding, flogging, trail-racing, or by any other moniker, off-road travel does raise a fair amount of safety concerns due to the rugged nature of off-road adventures or terrain. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy yourself.
If you’re planning on taking an off-road trip across the United States, the following guide will prove beneficial to get you started.
Covering the Basics
The main thing to consider here is if your vehicle is off-road capable. So unless you own a 4-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive vehicle with appropriate tires for rugged terrain, you’ll want to stick to the pavement.
As with all vehicles, you’ll want to make sure that your off-road vehicle is in optimal driving condition. And this basically means that you should ensure that your oil and filter are changed, all fluids are topped off, and that your brakes have been checked for wear durability.
Additionally, make sure your vehicle is adequately covered by your auto policy. You should review your policy to ensure that you’re not limited to on-road travel and that you have some form of roadside assistance.
Breakdowns can happen off-road much faster than when traveling the highways. As such,
obtain a quote for new insurance if your policy isn’t up to date.
Safety is going to be your main priority when it comes to off road travel. And this means that you need to be prepared for the possibility of your vehicle getting stuck while you’re off-road.
As a primary precaution, if you’ll be heading over rugged terrain, it’s recommended that you deflate your tires slightly to allow ease of movement over rocky terrain. Additionally, tires with run-flats are also recommended to allow you to keep driving just in case your tires become punctured.
Further, you should always take along a tire patching kit, portable air-compressor, and ensure that your spare tire(s) are properly inflated.
When it comes to your personal safety, you might consider bringing along hiking equipment, camping gear, as well as extra food and water just in case you have to hike out of the wilderness to find services.
Depending on how far out you go, you could be many miles from any help, or from an area where cell signals are accessible.
Know Your Terrain
The main reason why people find themselves in trouble when off-roading is primarily due to the fact that the terrain wasn’t fully understood. And the very nature of off-road travel lends itself to a large number of unknowns.
As a best practice, it’s recommended that you bring along a detailed topographic map of the area. This will enable you to plan for elevation changes, and you’ll be able to see where the trails might be difficult to navigate.
Perhaps most importantly, keep alert and drive cautiously over uneven terrain. The last thing you’ll want to do is flip your vehicle over, or find yourslf on the edge of a sheer cliff.
It’s also recommended that you’re aware of the local foliage, as large cactus can easily puncture tires, and there may be rules about where you can or cannot drive due to protections in place of sensitive vegetation, as is common in many wilderness areas.
Off-roading can be one of the most exhilarating outdoor activities to engage in. But it also comes with a good amount of risk involved. As long as you know your terrain, and you’ve taken the necessary safety precautions, you should be able to enjoy your time no matter where your off-road travels take you.