What do you think about when you hear the words Off Roading?
When I first bought my Jeep in 2005, I didn’t know what I was getting into. I imagined picking a rural road, field, or creek and trying out what my new Jeep could do. WRONG! Boy was I naïve, as this is not what off road driving is about. I felt apprehensive, so before I made a really big mistake, I started looking for someone to tell me more about off roading. It took awhile, but I finally was invited to an Off Road club meeting. This is where I realized that off roading is more than a ride in the country.
The off roading community is a group of people who started as strangers, but through common interests, have become a tight knit family. Off Road clubs help educate their members about how to properly drive off road and about the environment. In times of need, you will find them helping wherever they possibly can. Whether it is dealing with a natural disaster or helping a family with their medical needs, don’t be surprised to find an Off Road club member already there. They have fundraisers for school supplies, food, water, clothing and money to help local charities. They visit children in the hospital and the vets in the V.A. They take care of each other and the communities in which they live and wheel in.
Protect the Enviroment
The most important parts of off roading are not damaging the environment and making sure everyone practices safe wheeling rules.
Since our hobby is driving on country trails and county roads, respecting the surrounding communities and taking care of the environment is essential. Yes, the organizations and clubs Easy Off Roading recognize respect the environment, and they strongly encourage their members to follow the Tread Lightly guidelines and environmental rules and laws. Tread Lightly promotes responsible outdoor recreation through stewardship, education and communication.
Knowing your vehicle is essential to your safety, as is making sure you have the proper recovery gear and then learning how to use it correctly. These are exactly the kinds of things off roading organizations and clubs help with. It is almost inevitable that someone will need to be rescued out of a mud hole, on the trail, or from a ditch, on a country road or in town or after an ice storm, so know your capabilities before you get to that point. This is where off road organizations and clubs are important. In Tennessee we support the Southern Four Wheel Drive Association. SFWDA website has an education section that has important information about recovery gear safety.
Plan Your Vehicle Upgrades
Before upgrading your vehicle, go to an off-road club and ask for advice. Go in knowing that everyone you ask will have a different opinion, but you will, at the least, learn the terminology you will need before going to a 4WD garage. Also, ask for a referral to a qualified garage that works on off-road vehicles. As far as minor repairs, you will find club members willing to help or advise you what to do.
Off roading is a great way to spend time with your family, in nature and away from the pressures of the world. You will meet new people, learn new skills and build confidence in yourself. If you haven’t already, you will start noticing other Jeepers giving you the Jeep wave. Enjoy your vehicle and enjoy nature because Off Roading is more than just crawling on rocks or a drive in the country; it’s a lifestyle.
Our blog welcomes input from off road organizations, clubs and off road enthusiasts.
Your comments or suggestions will be appreciated.