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Top Winter Off-Roading Safety Tips

Winter off roading is full of excitement for drivers who thirst for adventure. It’s a blast when you’re dashing through the snow, braving the elements. On the flip side, wintry weather can get the better of you if you’re not prepared. Keep safe this season with safety tips for handling snowy conditions.

Pack for an Emergency

Emergency gear helps you tackle a variety of problems you may encounter. Having the right equipment on hand can make a big difference. The most common supplies you need include:

  • Jumper cables
  • Flare or flashlight
  • Blankets
  • First aid kit
  • Shovel
  • Ice scraper
  • Kitty litter or sand
  • Snow chains

These are a few basic items to take with you. Other items to pack with you include a phone charger, food and water.

Don’t Travel Alone

Winter is not the best time to go off-roading on your own. Roads, trails and mountains are more dangerous during snowy weather. Plus, if you run out of gas or have a mechanical breakdown, it’s good to know someone is there with you to help out. Bringing one or more buddies with you is ideal if things don’t go quite as planned.

Avoid Slamming on Your Brakes

Snowy, icy or wet roads are very slippery. It’s important that you’re careful when you brake. A sudden stop can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Instead, ease off the accelerator. After that, apply slow, steady pumps to the brake pedal.

Keep the Lights On

Winter weather decreases visibility. Additionally, the nights are longer than the days. The combination of a wintery mix and early nightfall makes it hard to see. A good practice is to keep your headlights on at all times. Make sure the automatic lights work and only use fog lights when you experience limited visibility or fog.

Fill Up the Tank

Bad weather often comes with traffic delays. Getting caught in a traffic jam can end up with a lot of gas being wasted before you reach your destination. Regardless of the circumstance, keep your tank full of gas. Never let it get below half empty. When you reach the halfway mark, hit up a filling station to keep that needle on full.

Perform a Maintenance Check

Off road vehicles do double duty during harsh weather months. Here are a few key features to check:

  • Taillights
  • Headlights
  • Tire tread
  • Fluid levels
  • Windshield wipers

Preventive maintenance checks are important. This ensures your vehicle can handle the cold weather while keeping you safe in the process.

Stay Focused

Technology can either be your friend or foe. For instance, a smartphone is essential for making an emergency call. However, it can be a distraction so turn it off. Driving on icy, snowy or wet roads requires a heightened sense of awareness. Eliminating distractions keep you focused on driving conditions and other motorists.

Pre-Plan Routes

Sunny, warm weather is great for scoping out new routes at the spur of the moment. This isn’t so much the case during snowy or icy weather. Unfamiliar trails may pose potential obstacles. Planning routes ahead of time can keep you out of harm’s way. Research trails, roads and routes so you’ll know whether they’re suitable for winter travel.

Charge Your Battery

Freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on your vehicle’s battery. Cold weather can cause it to drain faster than usual. Make sure it’s fully charged before setting out on your off-roading trip. Also, consider removing the battery if you’re headed to a location, such as a hunting camp. This helps preserve your battery’s charge.

Layer Your Clothes 

There’s a way to dress for freezing weather that enhances your safety. It’s a three-layered look that’s ideal, especially if you’re rolling out on your ATV, dirt bike, motorcycle or dune buggy. The first layer consists of thermal underwear. Thermals help your body retain heat. For the next layer, you can go with something such as a polyester fleece pullover. An example of a good outer shell is an uninsulated parka. You can stay dry and warm when you bundle up this way.

Ramp Up for Safer Off-Roading Fun

Off-roading is an exhilarating experience. The good news is that you can have fun and remain safe when you hit the road during the wintertime. For extra peace of mind, make sure your vehicle is covered by off road insurance. This ensures you have the protection you need for any unexpected hazard. Contact us today for a customized coverage plan at an affordable price.

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