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Preparing Your Vehicle for Off-Road Travel

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There are plenty of destinations that require you to leave the comparative safety of an asphalt road and head into more rugged terrain. One-time events, such as concerts and festivals, often require parking in grassy fields or unpaved dirt lots, while camping locations rarely pave their paths and roads. Whatever the venue, preparing your car is essential for a safe and pleasant experience.

Have a Professional Check Your Vehicle

If you’re planning an off-road excursion, such as driving into a national park, it’s especially important to have your vehicle serviced by a mechanic. This means an oil change and getting your fluid levels checked and topped off. Additionally, ask your mechanic to look for any issues that might cause a problem, while you’re traveling. You may want to explain your plans, so he’ll watch for mechanical, electrical, or other problems that may need to be repaired.

Optimize for Visibility

Going off-road means going places where vehicles aren’t normally present. Add in an environment such as a music festival, where people are walking around an area where vehicles are also expected to maneuver despite no set roads, and the chances of an accident increase dramatically. Reduce these chances by opting for ways to make your vehicle more visible. Have some fun with it by getting custom reflective stickers printed up to provide an eye-catching way to alert others to your presence in low-light conditions. A brightly colored antenna ball and a street-legal car topper are other ways to make your vehicle more visible in situations where someone or something might not be anticipating crossing paths with a moving automobile.

When Were Your Tires Last Replaced?

Even if they’re only a few months old, check your tires for wear, bulges, tears, or other damages. It may be worthwhile to replace the tires now since your travels will require a good tread and ideal air pressure. Additionally, visually inspect your spare tire. Make sure this is also in good condition. You don’t want to end up with a punctured tire in the middle of nowhere, only to find out that your spare has gone flat from a lack of use.

Stock Up on Spares

While space will be limited, do make room for spare parts. In addition to the spare tire, vehicle safety off-road supplies should include extra hoses, belts, fluids, and fuses. You may also want to invest in a hydraulic air pump to service your tires in the event of an emergency. Stock up on extra batteries for flashlights and have your vehicle battery checked out at a service station. You may have to rely on your vehicle battery as a means of charging your phones, as well as running your vehicle, so make sure it’s in good working order.

Prepare for Emergencies

If you have a fire extinguisher, bring it to your local fire department to have it checked out. If it’s an older unit, or if you don’t have one, it may be a good idea to buy a new extinguisher and bring it along. Make sure it can handle chemical and electrical fires.

Investing in a hydraulic winch might be worth the money, as well. There’s no telling what the environmental conditions will be and, even if weather forecasts predict sunny weather, the ground may be wet. Having a winch on hand can help you get out of slippery spots.

Don’t Forget Personal Safety

Stock up on medical supplies as well. Invest in a high-end first aid kit and supplement it with additional supplies, such as pain relievers, antiseptics, and cloth bandages. You may want to bring equipment to make splints, in case anyone breaks a bone far from professional medical help. Antihistamines may be helpful as well, particularly in areas commonly known for insects, spiders, and reptiles.

Buy a Two-Way Radio

Your mobile device may have good range and provide game-changing travel-friendly technology, but that doesn’t mean you’ll always have service. Especially in remote areas, you may be left with no way to communicate in an emergency, unless you plan for service outages. Bringing along a two-way radio and taking the time to learn how to use it can help ensure you’ll be able to reach emergency services, whenever you may need help.

Some of the best trips may take you off the beaten path. Taking the time to prepare can help ensure you enjoy the excursion and that you’ll be protected from the perils of this type of travel. While you may not need to use many of the extras you’ll bring along, you’ll feel comforted, knowing you have them. Staying safe far from the road will help you enjoy your adventure that much more.

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