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Off-roading is an inherently dangerous activity. For many, the thrill of traversing perilous terrain and obstacles is part of what makes it so fun. However, there is a fine line between an exciting adventure and a disastrous nightmare out on the trails. To return from your off-roading adventure in one piece, it’s important to be aware of the most common causes of off-roading accidents so that you can take measures to avoid getting into one yourself.
Taking On Trails Outside of One’s Skill Level
A common source of off-roading accidents is due to the driver trying to take on trails or obstacles outside of their skill level. While a large element of off-roading revolves around trying to challenge oneself and push the limits of one’s vehicle, it’s important not to get too carried away. Before embarking on a difficult trail, make sure that you have the experience and skill level necessary to tackle it safely.
Adverse Weather Conditions
Another one of the most common causes of off-roading accidents is adverse weather. Rain, snow, fog, and high winds can all make off-roading conditions far more treacherous. Even easy trails can become extremely challenging when you add deep puddles, low visibility, and slick surfaces to the mix. As such, it’s important to check the weather forecast before heading out on an off-roading excursion.
Not Knowing Proper Off-Roading Etiquette
While there might not be any street signs on off-roading trails, there is an unspoken set of off-roading etiquette rules that it’s important to follow. For example, all off-roaders should know to give vehicles going uphill the right of way, yield to hikers and bikers, and keep a fair amount of distance between other vehicles. Among other unspoken rules, these guidelines are integral to helping prevent collisions and other accidents out the trails.
Driving Under the Influence
Just like on paved roads, driving under the influence also contributes to many accidents on the off-road. Drinking alcohol or doing drugs significantly impedes one’s driving abilities by slowing their reaction time, impairing their decision-making skills, and increasing their risk-taking behavior. As such, it is essential not to go off-roading if you have surpassed the legal alcohol limit, taken any drugs, or consumed any prescription medication that may impair your ability to drive safely.