Travel responsibly on designated roads, trails or areas. Travel only in areas open to four-wheel drive vehicles. For your safety, travel straight up or down hills. Drive over, not around obstacles to avoid widening the trail. Straddle ruts, gullies, and washouts even if they are wider than your vehicle.

Cross streams only at designated fording points, where the road crosses the stream. When possible, avoid mud. In soft terrain, go easy on the gas to avoid wheel spin, which can cause rutting. Don’t turn around on narrow roads, steep terrain, or unstable ground.

Back up until you find a safe place to turn around. Stop frequently and scout ahead on foot. To help with traction, balance your load and lower tire pressure to where you see a bulge (typically not less than 20 pounds). Know where the differential or the lowest point on your vehicle is. This will help in negotiating terrain and prevent vehicle damage resulting in oil and fluid spills on the trail. Maintain a reasonable distance between vehicles. Comply with all signs and respect barriers. Travel with a group of two or more vehicles.

Driving solo can leave you vulnerable if you have an accident or breakdown. Designate meeting areas in case of separation. Choose the appropriate winch for your vehicle size. Attach towing cable, tree strap, or chain as low as possible to the object being winched. Let the winch do the work; never drive the winch.

When winching always inspect your equipment, use the right winch for the situation, find a good secure anchor, and never winch with less than five wraps of wire rope around the drum. When using a tree as an anchor, use a wide tree strap to avoid damaging the trunk of the tree. Don’t mix driving with alcohol or drugs.



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