driving off-road.

Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

Traditional street driving can be fun, but adventurous spirits know the feeling does not compare to driving off-road. There is something special about saying goodbye to the paved road in a 4WD vehicle and taking on the elements on your own.

But before getting started, it’s important to realize that the freedom you might enjoy riding on tumultuous land depends on how ready you are to handle it. The following are a few tips to stay safe on your all-terrain adventures:

Protect Your Vehicle

Leaving the road means putting your ride into harms way, literally. Whether it is the underside from rocks and logs, your paint job from tree branches and bushes, or your interior from rain and mud, off-roading is tough work for your ride. Investing in inner and outer protection for your vehicle is a wise investment, especially if you want it to be your rig for years to come. Bolt-on parts like skid plates can help the underside of ride just like car seat covers will keep most of your interior looking fresh for years to come.

Strong Illumination

Off-roading means an elevated risk of obstacles in the path of your vehicle. It’s therefore essential to have functioning headlamps and high beams, not to mention some spares just in case. Off-roading also means the possibility of encountering wildlife, some more threatening than others. Flash-pattern LED emergency lights come in handy for scaring off any dangerous or otherwise unwelcome critters encroaching on your campsite. The added benefit of LEDs is reduced energy consumption, decreasing the chances of running out of vehicle battery miles from the nearest road.

Traction is King

The next thing you are going to want to pay attention to when going off-road is your tires. You need all-terrain tires to ensure that your vehicle can handle the different terrains that you might encounter while driving. Not only will having the right tires help prevent blowouts, but you will also be protecting yourself against getting stuck because traction can be severely undercut on certain road conditions, so your tires need to help. You should also pay attention to your tire pressure to be safe, especially if you are going to be driving in hot areas where pressure rises, meaning you are going to release some pressure.

Driving Off-Road

Driving off-road is different from driving on the road, and you need to be aware of that. It is important that you drive a little slower when driving off-road and for you to be vigilant because the terrain is not so predictable. You do not want to hit an area that forces your vehicle to be on a slant because this means you are risking overturning. You also want to do your best to avoid turning quickly when you are driving off-road because this can also cause you to flip over, depending on your center of gravity.

Bringing Along Tools

The next thing you want to make sure you do is bring along the right tools to help keep you safe as you go off-road. For example, you need to make sure you have a good shovel with you at all times that you can use to help get a tire unstuck should it happen while driving. You also need to make sure you have a tow rope with you but one that can actually handle thousands of pounds of pressure, so make sure you look for a military-grade rope or something that can handle 5,000 pounds or more just to be on the safe side. A rope can go a long way should your vehicle get stuck at any given time.

These are just some of the things you should consider before heading off into the great unknown. All you are doing is taking steps to keep safe, and you are definitely worth the trouble.