Tech Tuesday: Push Yourself

The past few times I’ve been out wheeling with people I know and some I don’t I have noticed that a large number of people out there are far too worried about damaging their vehicle. Now I know what you’re thinking and I’m not completely off my rocker I just mean that a lot of people seem to worry that one small mistake will lead to catastrophic damage in their new vehicle, but there are good ways and bad ways to push your driving abilities and really find out where your vehicle’s limits are.

First of all let’s talk about the basics of not breaking. If you are on a ledge or obstacle, the very first thing you are supposed to do is get a feel for what your trying to get through/over. If you are even thinking of driving over it you should have already taken a good look at it and identified the basics like, which is the most direct route through? Which is the most difficult looking route? Where are the large issues of the obstacle that you should avoid or plan to navigate around? And of course try and identify if there is a route that can lead to serious trouble like a rollover. Once you have established the basic do’s and dont’s of the obstacle you can take a crack at it, always focus on the approach, setting up your vehicle correctly can be the difference of getting over it or getting stuck and doing damage. Once your set up for the line you want, give it a go nice and slowly. Listen to your spotter and gather information on how your vehicle and the obstacle are dealing with each other. Of course be listening for any bad sounds like bellying out or touching your driveshaft’s down on something. If you get to the point where you are on the obstacle and a nice slow controlled crawl is not going to cut it then back off and re-evaluate and decide if you should consider a bypass, pulling cable, or giving it a harder shot. Most people are very hesitant to give an obstacle a good hard bump but with most newish vehicles these days. You don’t need to worry about damaging much as long as you have thought out the obstacle correctly. So get in and give it a little more of a run up, not too much, just a little momentum to try and keep you going through. Continue this pattern until you are up but don’t stress yourself on the “what ifs”. Your out there so enjoy it. At any point you feel you are going too hard then simply back off it and change your game plan.

What a lot of people don’t seem to really grasp is that unless you are spinning your tires and going nowhere or you are bouncing up and down on an obstacle, nothing much should break on a properly set up 4×4.Of course little dings and scratches can happen but that’s simply adding character. If you are always too concerned about what could happen, you will never really find out where your and your vehicles limitations are. Not to mention that as you’re driving develops and evolves so does your vehicle normally and then you can go even further and harder places. One of the biggest aids for those who are not necessarily the most comfortable yet is having a good spotter who can walk them through the basics calmly and really help them understand the situation and possible options.

Hopefully this little speech may have helped you motivate yourself or someone around you to continue to push forwards and try to get over that next obstacle. Without progression there is no point of even going out. Push yourself and your friends (responsibly) and most importantly, have fun.

Zack Arnault