If you love pushing your 4x4 vehicle to its limits, it is a good idea to be prepared in case things turn belly up. Following the tips below can help ensure a safe recovery of your vehicle, and hopefully prevent the need for costly repairs.
- It’s always a good idea to go off-roading with a friend. That way you can help each other out of a jam, without needing to rely on the kindness of strangers.
- If you do get stuck, stay calm. Take the time to make a plan for recovering your vehicle and make sure everyone involved is on the same page before acting.
- When using winches or recovery straps, check that they are in good condition. Don’t use them if you find cuts, frays, or broken stitching.
- It is a good idea to keep a pair of gloves handy, as winch cables can develop sharp strands that stick you.
- Make sure you anchor your winch or tow strap securely, preferably to another vehicle. Using trees or rocks can be dangerous to use as anchor points, as they could break or lines could slip.
- Another good tip when using a winch is to cover the cable with a blanket. If the line snaps, the blanket can prevent it from springing sideways.
- If possible, have someone in the driver’s seat of the vehicle you are trying to recover. This way they assist the winch instead of trying to pull dead weight. This is also a precaution if the vehicle lurches unpredictably once freed or something happens to the winch or strap.
- Keep bystanders away when performing the recovery. You never know when debris will fly up in the air or the vehicle being recovered moves unpredictably.
- If you are using a tow strap, try to avoid sudden tugs and drive slowly to avoid damage to the strap or vehicles.
This article was originally posted on June 1, 2018.