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Four-wheel drive safety for beginners

Four-wheel drive safety for beginners

Having your vehicle properly prepared and fitted-out before going off-road is incredibly important. Retrofitting custom parts to your rig before going off-road is essential, and here are the basic necessities.

Roo bar

A roo bar is a front bar that protects your vehicle’s vital fluid heat exchangers, as well as the front of your car, in an accident. These safety devices are made from plastic, aluminum or steel, with those made from steel providing the best protection.

If you have a lighter vehicle, however, you will need a lighter bar to distribute the weight evenly. Ask a professional’s opinion and get them to fit it properly.

Cargo barriers

Cargo barriers are important because they will protect you, your passengers and your vehicle. Although all your cargo should be restrained when driving, a cargo barrier will stop any loose items from flying forward if you need to brake suddenly, and will add to your car’s structural integrity if you happen to roll in an accident.
Tyre pressure monitor

If you’re planning to drive on various types of terrains, it’s important that you take a tyre pressure monitor. This will help you to adjust the air pressure in your tyres in order to gain additional grip on different terrains, such as sand, rocks and mud.

Recovery points

If you get bogged, you will need recovery points so that someone can pull you out. These can come built-in with goodquality roo bars, but you can also add them separately. Strong recovery hooks can be added to the chassis or to the major structural parts of your rig.

Animal safety

As grim as it is to think about potentially hitting an animal, you need to know what to do in case it happens. Many animals become active at night, and are therefore hazards, so if you can, avoid driving at night, and at sunrise and sunset. If an animal does jump in the way of your vehicle, the safest option is to continue straight and not swerve.

Not only does this protect you and your passengers, but it may also give the animal a chance to jump out of the way in the direction that they were originally heading. Another thing to keep in mind is to never feed wild animals and to keep interactions with them to a minimum, as thiscan disrupt their natural behaviour and affect their health.

Land and cultural awareness

Keeping the land the way that it was when you first arrived is an important aspect of four-wheel driving. Not only will this benefit the native fauna and flora, but it will also prevent the interruption of any cultural practices that occur in the area. This practice is called ‘minimal trace’, and it encourages people to leave little to no evidence that they were there at all.

Don’t introduce foreign chemicals – like soap – into streams or rivers; take all rubbish with you; and bury any human waste at a 15-centimetre depth so that it will break down quicker. These are just some of the basics, but log on to a four-wheel drive forum or two, and discuss with all other four-wheel drive enthusiasts what you can do to ensure your impact on the area you’re visiting is minimal.

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