Getting Familiar with Off-Road Driving

It is a good idea to practice in an area that is safe and close to home before you go into the wilderness. Off-road driving does require some new and different driving skills. Here is what we mean.

Tune your senses to different kinds of signals.

Your eyes, for example, need to constantly sweep the terrain for unexpected obstacles. Your ears need to listen for unusual tire or engine sounds.

With your arms, hands, feet, and body, you will need to respond to vibrations and vehicle bounce.

Controlling your vehicle is the key to successful off-road driving. One of the best ways to control your vehicle is to control your speed.

Here are some things to keep in mind. At higher speeds:

• You approach things faster and you have less time to scan the terrain for obstacles.
• You have less time to react.
• You have more vehicle bounce when you drive over obstacles.
• You will need more distance for braking, especially since you are on an unpaved surface.

CAUTION:
When you are driving off-road, bouncing and quick changes in direction can easily throw you out of position. This could cause you to lose control and crash. So, whether you are driving on or off the road, you and your passengers should wear safety belts.

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