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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Seeing as how a lot of people here are newbies to off roading I thought I'd start a thread on safe 4wheeling and proper etiquette. Please feel free to add to this thread.

Your first stop should be here:
http://www.pirate4x4.com/tech/billavista/Recovery/index.html
This article shows all you need to know about proper winching and recovery.

Also a good read:
http://4x4now.com/4wht.htm

Safety rules of thumb:

-Never use a tow strap with hooks or chain on the ends. These are tow straps and not recovery straps. When those chains break they go flying with enough force to kill.

-When recovering somebody never attach to a moving part like an axle. While it may seem strong you'll end up pulling off the axle with a strong enough pull. Always attach to a tow hook or frame.

-Never attach to the ball of a tow hitch. They have been known to break and fly off. They will take your head off. Instead, remove the hitch, insert the looped end of the strap into the hitch receiver and put the hitch pin through.

-Synthetic winch rope is safer than steel. It won't recoil back as bad as a steel rope. There are pictures of trucks with winch cables going through windshields, head rests and sheet metal. When winching with a steel rope keep all spectators away and hang a weight, like a jacket or blanket in the middle of the steel rope to minimize the danger.

-Hi lift jacks are dangerous but indispensible. Be careful with them.
http://www.4x4now.com/bb0997.htm

-Never go anywhere alone.

Trail Etiquette:
I know this has been posted before, but it's important enough to post again. Please tread lightly. http://treadlightly.org/ . Our trails are being closed because of irresponsible people trashing the trails.

-Don't litter and pick up all trash you see on the trail. This includes not leaving toilet paper and feminine items. Part of the rubicon trail was closed for just this reason.

-Do not go off trail and blaze your own. This causes unnecessary errosion. This includes not going around an obstacle just because you can't make it. if there is an established, legal bypass then by all means use it. Again, the rubicon trail and others are being threatened with closure because of this.

-DO NOT TRESPASS. If you see an open, muddy field that's calling your name, don't do it. This reflects poorly on the rest of us and we already have a bad reputation with the non-wheeling public. If you don't know whether you're supposed to be there or not, DON'T DO IT!

-When winching to a tree use a tree saver. This basically looks like a short recovery strap that prevents a winch line from digging into the bark, killing the tree.

-Join a 4x4 club to teach you where to go legally and how to wheel safely.

-Join organizations such as the blue ribbon coalition and for us californians, cal 4wheel.

Again, feel free to add your own links and tips to this thread. I'm sure there's lots I forgot.
 

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Re: Safe Wheeling 101

some good points

it should be noted

The 4x4 community is in a battle to keeppublic lands open for recreational use.
We are fighting the enviromentalist that feel any motorized travel in public land is defaceing the earth and destroying the enviroment.

Tread lightly is a creed, not an option, and not going offtrail shows we are a responceble group that cares about our earth.

Next, Schooling on Wheeling is a good thing, Getting a book such as, "THE 4 WHEELERS BIBLE", and reading up on theory, technique and recovery is giving you the foundation for wheeling that you days in school gave you for your carreer.

there are 4x4 schools out there and most wheeling clubs accept nubes with open arms and teach them the ropes.

good luck
 

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Re: Safe Wheeling 101

awesome bro thanks for sharing...this is great info for a newbie like me.
 

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Re: Safe Wheeling 101

FJrod said:
awesome bro thanks for sharing...this is great info for a newbie like me.
Ditto.

Great read and some really good info.!!!

Thanks as well!:D
 

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Sparky said:
put more info in, and sticky this bad boy
'Sticky' indeed.

My frustration with the light 4-wheeled crowd (side-by-sides/atvs) in some areas of this country seems continually tempered by the thoughtfulness/good etiquette of random individuals I often witness in other motorized groups such as the sledders, full-sizers and even the off-road motorcyclists who I often disagree with.

Simply a fantastic post on a subject that I keep wishing a group of owners (any sport or even 'brand' within) would really pride themselves in leading the way on for legacy's sake if nothing else

I hate rabid environmentalists....yet I detest it even more when one talks more intelligently as to their favorite subject than I. ;)
 

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highbeams said:
Truth be told, the proper place for us to be is one foot in the enviromental camp, and one foot in the wheelers camp
I wish that this were the lesson being taught to the next generation; as I see a lot of folks wheeling out there that don't understand why a marriage of the two is so important (and even more who get downright nasty when even the simple concept of "pay-to-play" is brought forward as a reality that must be dealt with inside the community TODAY and not tomorrow).
 

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basics
10 and 2, but now with airbags it is 9 and 3, and thumbs do not wrap the wheel, they stay on the outside, that wheel is going get jerked and a wrapped thumb can get injured
avoid the death grip, lighten up on the wheel
gas pedal, light touch, lots of power here breaks stuff, spinning tires hook up and break axles
break pedal, another light touch item, remember the surface you are on does not have the grip of an improved road, so slamming on the breaks means you slide, not stop, gently apply breaks please, do not ride the breaks either
clutch out, fanning the clutch is not a good idea, anytime torque is not being fully applied to the ground you are not in a full traction position
your left foot should be on the floor board, not tucked under you, you may want to use it fast
learn how to properly shift your transfer case before going out
Use the PARKING break whenever you stop
A CB radio is just about a must, in hilly terrian, or just back country there is no guarantee your cell phone will work. Wheelers use cb's for a reason, both safety and fun
Drivers point of view- what is on the drivers side, and in front of you, you know where it is, what is on the passengers side, and the rear of the vehicle you are guessing, when in doubt, veer to where you can see stuff. Another point here is it is important to know where youre passenger tire is, you will need to be able to put it on obsticles, practice running over stuff with it till you can judge where it is.
Spotters, when in doubt, get a spooter out, and when using a spotter, do not look at anything but his signals, he is your eyes, so pick one you trust, not following a spooters signals will mean you are doing something wrong, ouch
 

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highbeams said:
A CB radio is just about a must, in hilly terrian, or just back country there is no guarantee your cell phone will work. Wheelers use cb's for a reason, both safety and fun

actually, in hilly terrain, even the FCC mandated 4 watts max power, the CB _might_ not get you anyone on the other end.

my worse lesson ever, NEVER EVER GO WHEELING ALONE... even in a "small" state run OHV park (hollister hills in central ca), i was stuck and couldnt find someone to drive by for over 2 hours... granted, i spend the first hour and a half trying to extracate myself from a muddy hole from hell. heck, it wasnt really much of a hole... but i digress.

even my recently acquired portable (handheld) HAM radio (at a miniscule 5 watts) had terrible performance in a hilly terrain (i volunteered for rally event in so-cal).

one nice thing wheeling with another vehicle is that one can get stuck while the other can try to pull out butt out of trouble or drive out to get help.

if you MUST go alone, check out a new accessory: PLBs. personal locator beacons are like what EPIRBs are to boating.

or have a satellite phone.
 

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Assuming you took you technitions radio test and are properly licensed to use the ham radio you own, you know that most portable ham radios are uhf/vhf, which are line of sight,although they can penetrate walls, mountains etc, if the right frequency / power levels. That's why hams access repeaters to relay their signals over longer distances ( similar to the way cell phones relay their signals to nearby towers or "cells"). UHF/VHF radio's advange is clarity, not distance. Also, more people have access to CB radios (and in some areas they are used instead of telephones in residences ), and you are more likely to contact someone by CB when on the trail. I'm a ham, but I always have a CB on the trail as well.
 

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I can dial in 2 meter repeaters all over the forest, with a cb, I can get the guy on the next trail. almost every 4 wheeler out there is on cb, and more than willing to help. CB may have a limited range, and a reputation worth ****, but when the chips fall, and you are offroad, you can get help Fast with a cb.
I have to agree a 2 meter will get farther, but then again, every wheeler and his brother is on CB.
 

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On another note
I just read this

HEATH TOWNSHIP, Mich. A Holland man died after being struck in the head with a piece of metal that was attached to the end of a tow strap being used to pull a truck from the mud in Allegan County.

The sheriff's department says 33-year-old Jonathan Blystra was among a group of friends driving four-wheel drive trucks through a mud bog in Heath Township yesterday when his truck became stuck.

The group tried to free Blystra's truck with a tow strap attached to another truck, but the strap broke.

The piece of metal went thorough the windshield of Blystra's truck, striking him in the head. He was pronounced dead at the scene.



that should be a reminder that recoveries, straps, winches and all equiptment is nothing to be taken lightly, Have a knowledgeable person explain to you the proper technique to use these items before atempting to use them yourselves. more accidents happen during recoveries than any other time, these are not toys
 

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highbeams said:
On another note
I just read this

HEATH TOWNSHIP, Mich. A Holland man died after being struck in the head with a piece of metal that was attached to the end of a tow strap being used to pull a truck from the mud in Allegan County.
tow strap <> recovery strap.

tow strap has the metal hooks used for FLAT TOWING only...

recovery strap is the "rubber band" working strap. with loops at either end.

but with a recovery strap, you DONT want to just slip it over a tow ball, which might slip off, and the rubber band effect can be deadly if it hits the right spots...
 

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Great thread on equipment and safty.

I would add the following to offroading Etiquette when going out with a group:

  1. Attempt to arrive at the meeting point on time or early
  2. Be sure to have your vehicle has the proper OHV tags
  3. Try to bring Shovel, High Jack, Axe and Maps.
  4. Try to bring something to communicate with the team: CB, GRMS, HAM, etc
  5. Listen and follow your trail boss
  6. Always bring food and water.
  7. Give the vehicle in front of you respectable distance. They may need to back to change they route or get more momentum over an obstacle
  8. Help keep the group together by keeping the person behind you in sight.
  9. Stay on the trails, (Treading Lightly)
  10. Never leave the group without communicating with the trail boss
  11. Never leave a fellow member stranded.
 

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I know this is covered under trail etiquette, but I would like to add something I do. When I go boating and trail riding. I ask anyone that rides with me to remove at least one pice of garbage from the area and dispose of it properly when we find a refuse container to do so. I just figure if there were 500 boats on the lake or rigs on the trail, in one day, in no time, there would be no trash to pick up. As a group of responsible FJ Cruisers forum members, we could set another good example.
 
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