Are you thinking of finally purchasing an off-road side-by-side with which to treat yourself? Or rather, perhaps, you have a genuine need for a vehicle that can traverse extreme weather conditions, and don’t just want to buy one for relaxation and leisure.
If so, then good thinking – regardless of reason, off-road vehicles have a host of advantages that give them a leg up over their road-bound counterparts. Since they aren’t particularly popular in some parts of the world, however, many people don’t even know what to do after purchase.
I’m here to fix that. While I’m not going to be able to train you so well as to participate in the Baja 1000 by the end of the article, I hope I am at least going to offer a barebones perspective on what sort of terrain you can or are expected to tread over during your hobby (or career!).
Let’s jump right in!
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What Is Off-roading?
Off-roading is when you take your vehicle and drive off a designated road made from concrete, tarmac, or any other such material. It doesn’t need to be through areas of untamed wilderness – the second your car’s vehicles drive off the road, then you’ve gone “off-roading.”
There are some that take off-roading more seriously or passionately than simply having to go through an area or wasting time. While your parents might have groaned and moaned every time they had to drive over a trail so as to save up on a couple of precious minutes before grandma’s oven-baked loaf grows cold, you’ll find there are millions of people that jump with joy at the thought.
Different strokes for different people. And you’re here, which means you’re one of us!
The advice that I can present to you isn’t going to be about precise driving techniques since that not only depends on the type of vehicle you’re using, but also the terrain you’re driving over. There are several types of “off-roading,” each requiring different maneuvers and procedures.
On the other hand, here are the most common types of off-roading!
Are you driving over green grass? In that case, you’re “green laning,” considered to be potentially the safest form of off-road driving. Most vehicle drivers, whether they like it or not, have probably gone green laning at one point or another.
Arguably, it’s also the least exhilarating form of going off-road. However, it’s also the least dangerous, so it can easily be said the benefits outweigh the downsides.
Most people would never even think to drive over a patch of sharp, jutting rocks that could puncture your tires within an instant. Others are ecstatic at the idea and take it as a challenge to find out just how well they can drive.
Rock crawling is not recommended without serious driving experience as you’re very liable to damage your car or keel it over. You’ve been warned.
The Qatari desert is popular throughout the world for potentially being the place where the most off-road dune bashing happens. Treading alongside immense sand dunes is a cultural event over there, with many off-road events happening each year.
A very unique experience akin to surfing, albeit inside a heavy vehicle. Also a dangerous one.
Earth, Your Friend
The feeling of splashing mud all over, getting jolted and jumped around, carefully maneuvering your car around dangerous areas, and sharing in all of that with other enthusiasts is incomparable. It’s visceral, it’s thrilling, it’s satisfying, and it’s what binds us together.
And although the planet is so gorgeously beautiful and immensely diverse for us to enjoy a lifetime of roaming it, I must also wrap up this article with a reminder that we also have to be the ones protecting it.
Therefore, anytime you go off-roading, make sure you don’t dirty up or damage the trail you’re riding on. Do everything you can to keep it clean and well-maintained, clean up after yourself, and, well, clean up after other people, too.
Because it only takes one person throwing trash in the wrong place to ruin the motorsport for everyone.