NOTES on SAFETY.
Off roading comes with dangers, and while planning, care, and attention can reduce these, it will not eliminate them completely. Following the advice in these notes is therefore not a guarantee that accident or injury will not occur, but will hopefully assist in preventing or mitigating the effects of incidents and accidents. The reader should take further advice and there are many publications on the subject. Some are mentioned after these notes.
Keep it well maintained and regularly serviced.
Check fluid levels (oil, coolant, PSF, ATF, brake, clutch, axles) and tyre pressures frequently.
Ensure sufficiently strong recovery points are fitted front and rear.
In addition to the Club’s mandatory recovery equipment -Carry:
Sufficient fuel and water.
A fire extinguisher.
A First Aid Kit (and know how to use its contents).
A jack and tool kit.
Sturdy footwear – it may be more fashionable to wear flip flops or light sandals but if you are involved in a summer recovery in soft sand it will not be a pleasant experience.
Mobile telephone with charger – but remember that a signal may not always be available in remote areas.
LOADING the VEHICLE:
Keep heavy loads low.
Avoid loading fuel and water on to roof racks.
Use straps or nets to secure loose items in the load area (avoid bungee cords unless the load is light).
If your vehicle has no suitable tie down points, fit suitable ‘D’ rings. (some manufacturers sell these as spare parts).
Know your limitations and drive within them.
Know your vehicles’ limitations and drive within them.
Read the surface and weather conditions and drive within them.
Know how to operate all your vehicle’s electronic driving controls, and how to switch them on/off or engage/disengage them.
Monitor instruments and warning displays while driving.
In a convoy maintain convoy discipline:
Don’t pass the vehicle ahead,
Stay in the order allocated to you,
Give the vehicle ahead sufficient time and distance to clear obstacles,
Keep the vehicle behind in sight and stop if necessary to achieve this (follow the vehicle ahead but you are responsible for the vehicle behind),
Show your headlights in dusty conditions,
Fly a conspicuously visible flag well above roof height for better visibility in the dunes.
In difficult terrain go as slowly as possible and only as fast as necessary.
Avoid side slopes where possible.
Use extreme caution if using Hi-lift jacks – practice on a hard level surface before venturing off-road.
Do not get under a jacked vehicle unless it is securely blocked (axle stands, wooden blocks, or similar).
Use only rated recovery equipment (a minimum of 5 tonnes for a kinetic (snatch) strap and 3.25 tonnes for shackles is recommended).
Straps should be a minimum rating of twice (x2) the gross weight of the lighter vehicle in any kinetic, winched or towed recovery.
If a kinetic (snatch), tow or winch recovery is to be carried out, agree signals before commencing the recovery.
Clear away sand, rocks or mud from the path of the wheels of the vehicle being recovered to lessen the forces required.
If you are not sure of the skill level of the other person involved in a recovery, brief them on what is required and expected.
Use a bridle if possible to spread the loads generated, and reduce the risk of a single recovery point failure.
In any difficult or complex recovery, nominate one person to be ‘in charge’.
In a kinetic (snatch) recovery, use the minimum speed necessary – remember that the energy goes up by the square of any increase in speed:
Assume your vehicle generates a kinetic line pull of 2500 kg at 5 km/h;
If you double your speed to 10 km/h, the line pull becomes 10000 kg;
If you double your speed again to 20 km/h, the line pull is 40000 kg!
Ensure onlookers stay at least 1.5 x the strap or winch cable length away from any recovery.
If winching, use a cable blanket especially if wire rope is used.
Use gloves to handle winch cable.
Only use a kinetic (stretching) strap for a kinetic recovery.
Never use a winch cable for a kinetic (snatch) recovery.
Never use a non stretching, lifting or towing strap for a kinetic (snatch) recovery.
Never join 2 straps together using steel shackles – use soft shackles or if not available, loop the two straps together but insert a rolled up newspaper or magazine in the loop before applying the load so that they can be separated after use.
FURTHER READING and REFERENCES:
The Owners Manual for your vehicle.
The Operating Manual for your winch, if fitted.
The Off–Roader’s Manual. By J.Ali Khan. Publisher: Motivate Publishing. UAE.
Off-Road Recovery Techniques. By N.Cole. Publisher: Motor Racing Publications, UK.
The Land Rover Experience. By T. Sheppard. Publisher: Land Rover. UK.
Working in the Wild. Land Rover’s Manual for Africa. Publisher: Land Rover. UK.
The Essential Guide to Choosing and Using Your 4WD Vehicle. Publisher: Land Rover. UK.
(The casual observer may feel there is a Land Rover bias here, but these last 3 publications, while referring to Land Rover models, have a wealth and breadth of experience and advice which can be read across to any model vehicle. For most of the 60 plus years of Land Rover history, their vehicles have been produced and used for off-road and working use primarily. It is only in the last 20 years or so that this type of vehicle has been regarded and produced as a leisure vehicle).
Source : David