You’re cruising along having a ball with your mates when disaster strikes and you find yourself getting bogged. Not only is this embarrassing for the person stuck, but it can also become a pain for everyone else in your travelling group. We have come up with the top 10 mistakes made when people get stuck to help you avoid even more embarrassment.
Ready Set Go Go Go
Being caught up in the emotion of being stuck can sometimes make us rush. We don’t want to hold up other travellers with the scenario that we have put ourselves into. It’s important slow down; calmly take a look at your situation. Will that tree hold? Will it let go and make you slide into a rock ledge? Is anyone in the firing line if that strap lets go? Don’t make a situation worse by rushing the planning of the recovery.
Overloading Your Winch
It’s amazing what you common 12V recovery winch can do. This one piece of equipment has been responsible for righting up-turned vehicles, pulling down trees and even helping in the process of building bridges. They are often rates at 5.5 tonnes (12000 lbs) which does sound like a lot of pulling power. But when you pride and joy is up to its axles in mud, the power needed to recover it can be immense. You will find that most recover kits will have snatch blocks that are designed to help with reducing the strain put on your winch. It’s wise you get to know them well.
Don’t Recover In Reverse
The clever people that designed your 4×4 knew that 90% of the time you will be recovered front on and have designed your vehicle with the strengthening in the front of the vehicle to support this. This also keeps the load on the stronger rear axle and keeps the load on the suspension in a way for it to perform at its peak. It also makes sense that you can see where you are going better if you are going forward.
Not Listening To Good Advice
When you are driving off-road you are best to tune out all of the background noise. Having 10 spotters giving you advice from all angles while you are getting yourself out of trouble is not going to help you make progress any quicker. You do however need an experienced person you can trust to help and be on hand. That being said, if someone is yelling at you to stop and it’s not your trusted mate, then you also need to heed this advice and take a moment to investigate the issue properly.
Ease Up On Your Shackles
How many shackles do you have in your recovery kit? When using the winch for recovery there are many different ways to set up and you don’t need to complicate things with a shackle. To make life easier on yourself you can loop straps together or even run a winch hook direct to a strap. A shackle can easily become a missile if it lets go which normally doesn’t end pretty for anyone.
Using The Incorrect Tie Points
Would you jump out of an plane with the parachute tucked into your underwear? We guess not. So don’t use the factory tie down points to recover your vehicle. These factory tie down points are designed to keep you vehicle in place on the production line or in transit. When performing an extensive recovery you will find very quickly that these points can and will break, causing the tie down metal to go flying at light speed which could cause serious damage or injury.
Joining Snatch Straps
There may be times that your snatch strap is just not long enough to reach the recovery point and back. Joining two straps together is a real eventuality that happens. The problem is, there are so many bad ways to join straps. The best way could be to loop the two straps together with 3 small pieces of dowel together in the middle of them to make is easier to get them apart after the recovery is successfully completed.
Tow Balls Are Only Designed To Toe
The amount of times you will see this happening out there in the field is mind blowing. A tow ball does not have anywhere near the right strength built into its design to handle recoveries. A common misconception is that if you can toe a 3.5 tonne caravan with the tow ball then it will handle the force of a recovery. Wrong! Under tow the tow bar is under downward pressure, not shock load and side loads. Think of it as gently placing a bowling ball on your favourite dinner plate or throwing the ball straight at the plate. It’s not going to have the same outcome is it?
Using Damaged Recovery Equipment
How much do you value your pride and joy? If you knew you were going to get stuck on this trip would you make sure all of your recovery gear is up to scratch? When you reach for the snatch strap make sure that you are grabbing one that has been rigorously tested and engineered to handle what you are about to put it through. If it’s damaged, there is a high likelihood that it is not going to end the way you would ideally like it to.
Recovery Is Not A Spectator Sport
This one should be a no-brainer. Even though this one is the last on the list doesn’t mean that it’s the least important, in fact we have probably left the most important until last. Only have the necessary amount of people involved in the recovery that is absolutely necessary. Everyone else needs to be 50m away at a minimum. If and when things go wrong you don’t want to put other people’s lives in danger with flying objects and sliding vehicles. Always recover seated in the vehicle with your seat belt on at all times and make sure that you have a contingency plan for if (and when) things do go wrong.
We hope that you enjoyed this article and also got something out of it that will help you stay safe on your travels.
If you are looking to upgrade your 4×4 any time soon and will be in need of a great deal on finance please speak with one of our team on 1300 769 177 or simply apply online.