Most modern 4wd Vehicles, have evolved beyond the basic ‘rough and ready’ vehicles of old. It is however, quite surprising the number of Four Wheel Drives being driven around which are either never driven off–road, or alternatively are driven off-road so infrequently, that their owners or drivers have no clue as to the features of their particular vehicle.
Modern vehicles are equipped with a myriad of features, some safety orientated and others more ‘performance’ orientated. Even a relative novice to ‘off-roading’ can look good whilst utilising the full capabilities of their modern vehicles. Although the vast majority of modern Four Wheel Drive vehicles have grown in size and stature in the last decade, there have been significant improvements in safety features associated with these vehicles and also a significant increase in the performance aspect of these vehicles as well.
Over the next few articles, I will introduce you to a number of these features. I must stress, however, that this blog, is in no way a replacement nor is it intended to replace, your vehicle owner’s manual. I therefore urge you to take the time to familiarize yourself with the features of your specific vehicle.
It is paramount to know from the beginning, that everything that is written in the following blogs is written with the aspect of safety as a number one priority.
This is not intended in any way to decrease the fun to be had from a day’s outing with your Four Wheel Drive, although, any outing would be substantially less fun, if you arrived home with a severely dented panel, in your shiny new vehicle, or even worse, injuries to any of the occupants.
It is also important at this point, to mention, that it is not advisable to ‘scare the living daylights’ out of your passengers. Particularly, if said passenger, happens to be the ‘Minister of Finances’ in your household. This will only serve two purposes. Firstly, you will be unable to convince the said ‘Minister of Finance’ that any additional purchase of equipment, beyond what was part of the vehicle, when it was bought, is justified and secondly, the family, will not wish to undertake another trip with you, due to previously mentioned ‘scare’ and you will be relegated to short Four Wheel Drive trips on your way home from work and cutting the lawn on weekends, whilst your Four Wheel Drive is used as a shopping trolley, with the sole purpose of emptying your credit card.
Oh and remember, Dual Cab Four Wheel Drives and Wagon Type Four Wheel Drive (SUV) vehicles can hold a substantial amount of shopping.
So unless we want to drive down perfectly graded dirt roads, which are quite suitable for a normal family hatchback, we will have to consider Safety as a key element in everything that we do.
Vehicle Safety Categorized
Vehicle Safety can be categorized quite easily, into three specific areas.
* The First category revolves around the mechanical safety of the vehicle.
This should not really pose too many problems, its really a simple matter of ‘is the vehicle roadworthy’
If your tyres are starting to lose grip driving to and from work or at the slightest bit of water on the road and your vehicle is dripping oil, all over your driveway, then a trip to the mechanic may be in order. You will also appreciate this, when you are sitting comfortably back at home, as opposed to waiting on the side of the road for assistance.
* Our second safety category revolves around the safety of the occupants.
Make sure that you have sufficient supplies for your intended journey and also make sure that you have the correct clothing for your trip. A trip to the beach without swimming trunks or bathing costume could easily spoil the day. Likewise a trip to the snow, without some warm waterproof clothing, could equally be just as disastrous. Don’t forget the basics either, some food and water as well as the usual, sunscreen, repellants etc. will go a long way to making the trip all that more enjoyable.
* Last but not least, do not forget, the safety of the environment.
We like to travel through some interesting places with our Four Wheel Drive vehicle and it is important, to ensure we do not destroy these areas and that we leave them in a better condition than how we found them. If that means that we have to park our Four Wheel Drive and walk a short distance to a waterfall or lookout point, then so be it. Consider yourself lucky, that you were able to get to these places and try to protect them, for others who follow to enjoy as well.