Being one of the most popular motorsports across the globe, off-roading is being performed by many but without the proper know-how. One of the most repeated questions asked by the global community before making a plan for off-roading is: Is off-roading life-threatening or safe? How dangerous is off-roading?
The danger of off-roading can be fatal since it includes rollovers, performing stunts, ejection from vehicles, etc. The danger mostly depends on the environment, the quality of the vehicle, and the terrain you use. If you take proper precautions, you can reduce the danger of off-roading.
For many people, off-roading is often notorious for noise pollution and environmental degradation. But, at the same time, there are also many supporters of this idea, and for them, it is the best way to explore the outdoors. In this article, we will break down the dangers of off-roading.
How Dangerous Is Off-Roading?
Off-roading is a risky activity that may have some severe consequences. It can be a lot of fun, but it can also be dangerous if you don't know what you are doing. The most common risks of off-roading are the possibility of rolling over and getting stuck in a ditch or on an obstacle.
Off-roading is not for everyone. It requires knowledge, skill, and experience. It also requires a vehicle that has been modified for off-road use.
The dangers of off-roading can include below:
1. Dangers Of Having Less Knowledge During Off-Roading:
Most people regard off-roading as a fun experience, but we must not forget the dark side of this too. Expert analysis asserts that riding an off-roading vehicle without having proper safety is much more dangerous than riding a bike along a busy street accompanied by cars and trucks on all sides.
FACT: An estimated half a million people suffered from off-roading accidents and were hospitalized for treatment. Source
2. Ejection From Vehicle:
One of the significant dangers of riding vehicles off-road is being gotten ejected from the car. It would be best if you prevented other dangers:
- Performing stunts
- Lack of experience among drivers
- Operating in unfamiliar areas and terrain
You can reduce the chances of injury in case of ejection by wearing a helmet. The excellent quality helmet can save your life by giving protection to your head, so you must wear a helmet during off-roading.
3. Risk Of Rollover:
Most off-roading vehicles are at a greater risk of rollover, particularly when you drive on off-road terrain, or dangerous paths. Off-roading vehicles include not only dirt bikes but also SUVs, UTVs, and ATVs.
Sometimes it becomes challenging for the driver to maintain control of the vehicle while driving through dunes and rough terrain. It may cause the car to go airborne, which may eject the rider out of the car.
You can reduce the risk of rollover by following these steps such as:
- Neglect conditions that could lead to loss of vehicle control.
- Be focused on rural roads.
- Avoid extreme panic-like steering.
- Maintenance of tires properly and replace them when necessary.
- Load vehicles in a proper manner and according to their capacity.
FACT: Research had asserted that two-wheeled vehicles are safer than four-wheelers in off-roading riding and racing. If you take the proper precaution, then you can avoid the dangers of off-roading.
Understand the Potential Dangers of Off-Roading:
Off-roading, like any adventurous activity, comes with inherent risks. However, the level of danger involved in off-roading can vary depending on various factors such as terrain, driving skills, vehicle condition, adherence to safety practices, and personal judgment.
Here are some aspects to consider regarding the potential dangers of off-roading:
- Terrain Hazards: Off-roading often involves traversing challenging terrains like steep inclines, rocky surfaces, mud, sand, or water crossings. These conditions can increase the risk of accidents, vehicle damage, or getting stuck. Therefore, assessing the terrain, understanding its challenges, and having the necessary driving skills and equipment to navigate safely are important.
- Mechanical Failures: Off-roading can put additional strain on the vehicle’s components. Failure of critical parts such as brakes, suspension, or steering can lead to accidents or loss of vehicle control. Regular vehicle maintenance, inspections, and using properly rated aftermarket parts can help mitigate such risks.
- Remote Locations: Off-roading often takes enthusiasts to remote and isolated areas where access to immediate medical assistance may be limited. In case of accidents or injuries, it may take time for help to arrive. It’s important to be prepared with first aid kits, communication devices, and emergency plans.
- Environmental Impact: Off-roading can adversely affect the environment if not done responsibly. Driving off established trails, damaging vegetation, or polluting water bodies can harm ecosystems and natural habitats. Respecting off-road regulations, staying on designated trails, and practicing “Leave No Trace” principles can help minimize environmental impact.
- Other Drivers: In certain off-roading areas or events, multiple vehicles may share the same terrain. The actions and decisions of other drivers can introduce additional risks. Maintaining proper distance, communicating intentions, and being aware of other vehicles can help reduce the chances of accidents.
It’s important to note that the level of danger can be mitigated by taking appropriate precautions. This includes acquiring proper off-road training, using appropriate safety gear, maintaining good-quality vehicles, staying informed about weather conditions, and practicing responsible off-roading techniques.
Understanding and respecting personal limits and realistic assessment of one’s driving skills are crucial to ensure a safe off-roading experience.
Off-Road Fatalities by ATVs, ROVs, and UTVs:
Global Sports Events Manifesting the Danger of Off-Roading:
The sport of motocross is the most popular. Still, due to many highly deadly accidents, this sport is now considered dangerous for amateur drivers and professionals.
It is deemed necessary for them to take care while driving; otherwise, they can face a fatal injury. The primary reason for the use of off-road vehicles such as off-road motorcycles or dirt tracks, ramps, and other equipment is to produce splendid leaps and unbelievable stunts.
This sport of motocross is associated with death-defying accidents, broken bones because riders often try to pull off flips, long-distance jumps, and other life-threatening risks.
FACT: Professionals are not the only ones who get injured while performing any stunt, but the researchers have shown that from 2001 to 2004, almost 3000 youngsters have faced motocross-related injuries and taken to hospitals. Professional rider Travis Pastrana, known for his spectacular riding, has suffered many deadly injuries, including a dislocated spinal column, concussions, and dozen broken bones. A 1987 study by Canadian researchers asserts that around half of victims of off-road accidents were younger than 16 years old. Today, under-16 ATV riders make up about 27 percent of all injuries and 20 percent of all deaths [source: ATVSafety.gov].
Is Off-Roading Really Dangerous?
The danger of off-roading is variable for the vehicles as it depends upon the type of vehicle being used. In the case of the car, off-roading is not very dangerous, but it is not entirely safe.
You can face risks of rollovers, fires, and crashes, but you can prevent these risks by taking proper precautions. The trouble starts to get more extreme when you are driving ATV or any other wheeled vehicle.
These types of cars are more dangerous than a car because they lack doors and roofs. As a result, there are more chances of ejection through a vehicle, or even you can get crushed by your car.
ATV can provide a safe exit in any fire, which can avoid these dangers by taking proper care during the drive. For example, you can prevent crashes by going at average speed.
It would be best if you took a fire extinguisher with you, which can put out any fire at any time. Also, it would be best if you did not depart for off-roading alone because there will be no one to get you out of the trouble in case of any mishap. You can also prevent any accident by learning driving techniques and then correctly implementing them.
What Should the Tire Pressure be When Off-Roading?
It mainly depends on the vehicle and the weight loaded over that vehicle, but you must lower your air pressure to 20 PSI according to the general rule of thumb.
You must know the minimum air pressure; otherwise, anything below 15PSI can prove to be deadly fatal for your vehicle. Therefore, you must take care of these adjustments before proceeding with the off-road journey.
How Low Pressure Causes an Accident During Off-Roading?
If the tire’s air pressure is too low, then most of the tire surface touches the road, which augments friction, and increased friction can cause the tire to get overheat, leading to premature blowouts. A blowout can cause the driver to lose control of his vehicle and crash.
How Many People Die During Off-Roading?
TOTAL REPORTED DEATH (INCLUDING ON GOING REPORTS)
6 Factors that Lead to Danger during Off-Roading :
There are certain defects in the vehicles that cause destruction and are responsible for many during off-road driving. Therefore, it is necessary to address these problems to avoid deadly accidents. These factors are as follows:
1. Nasty Weather Conditions:
Poor weather conditions, including heavy storms, rainfall, and rapid wind, can wreak havoc on the landscape, augment the risk of slides, loss of control, and eventually result in deadly accidents.
If you have such weather conditions, you must refrain from going far as death is the most significant loss in life.
2. Defect of Vehicle:
The defect in the vehicle’s functioning can cause you to lose control abruptly, and it would prove to be deadly dangerous for you and your family.
You must protect your vehicle from defects before going to ride; otherwise, it can cause serious injuries.
3. Wheel Misalignment:
You can face the issue of wheel misalignment while driving through hills, ditches. You must address this problem for your safety. You must know that going on the misaligned wheel can badly damage your suspension.
An alignment issue causes additional stress on one side of your suspension system, causing it to wear out quicker than the other side. If you have to choose between wheel realignment and a new suspension system, you must go for wheel realignment as it is far more affordable than a new suspension system.
4. Transmission Problems:
Many off-road vehicles, such as Jeep Wranglers, hold stick shifts. If you do not correct this problem, it can cause wear and tear to your car.
Some of the most common issues you come across are strange noises, the transmission warning light on. To avoid transmission problems, you must do these things such as:
Have the transmission fluid and filter replaced on a regular schedule?
- Don’t overfill your transmission.
- Don’t tow in overdrive.
- Don’t overload your vehicle when towing.
5. Exterior damage:
If your vehicle lacks any body armor during off-roading, then it can suffer exterior damages such as dents, scrapes, and other forms of body damage, but these sorts of damages can be repaired by touch-up paint.
6. Poor Manufacturing:
Manufacturing defects can mostly occur during the building, designing, and testing of an ATV. If a defective ATP winds up in your hand, it can cause catastrophic consequences for you and your family.
You must understand the complexity of the situation, and for that purpose, we are citing an actual incident faced by Deputy Harrold Barron and his family.
In February 2013, Barron was riding his ATV in his back pasture in southeast Houston when suddenly the ride took a wild turn for the worst. According to reports, a chain on ATV caught on a concrete pillar, flipping the vehicle over. When discovered by first responders, Barron's lifeless body was found trapped underneath the car.
Such a minor mistake took away the life of Baron, and you must take of yourself and your family to avoid these sorts of incidents. If you face any manufacturing defect, you must contact 800_232_3711. A simple call can put you on the right track and save you from deadly injuries.
TIRE WIDTH FOR OFF ROADING
32 inch tire width is tough enough to prevent your vehicle from getting stuck in mud.
A set of 32 inch tire can be the best upgrade for your light truck or SUV. If you are planning to go for off roading.
15 PSI TO 20 PSI tire pressure will prevent your vehicle from heating up through road friction.
You must adjust this tire pressure because anything below 15 PSI can prove to be deadly dangerous for your vehicle to get crash.
TIRE CHAINS OR CABLES
Tire chain are better than tire cables.
Tire chains have edge over tire cables because chain offers better traction and longer life. Tire chains are much more corrosion resistant.
Stiff suspension will offer better handling at higher speeds and sam level of comfort atleast offroading in bumpy terrain. Stiff suspension with sufficient loads to actuate spring compression is enough for comfort.,soft suspension in offroading also go bad very early and can bring tire life down much early.
True Life Event Manifesting the Danger of Off-Roading:
Death can strike you even after following all the safety measures during an off-road accident. In this chapter, we will look deep at the statistics of accidents involving off-road vehicles.
Each year hundreds of people get injured, and many of them die in an off-road accident. One such story is a death of a 39-year man killed in an off-road accident. According to sources, that crash was caused by two dunes.
A riverside country rider, lost control of the off-road vehicle after it struck the first dune. Then, the motorcyclist – driving at an unknown speed – struck the second dune while struggling to regain control of the dirt bike. The rider went airborne after hitting the second dune.
The riverside man suffered deadly injuries after landing in a field of rough terrain. The victim was driving along with Ocotillo Wells, an 85,000-acre desert operated by California State Parks. The desert attracts many fans of extreme sports largely thanks to its dune recreation area.
The Rule You Must Abide by During Off-Roading (Off-Road Driving Safety Tips):
Before departing for off-roading, you must tell your family and friends about your destined destination. You must have their contact numbers saved on your cell phone.
It would be best if you acted intelligently during off-roading by keeping your arms and legs inside all the time. Off-roading requires serious concentration and focus.
After a few hours, you must rest to refresh your body because the human body demands adequate rest to keep working effectively. Finally, you should develop a good understanding of the components of your vehicle so that you can adjust tire parameters to ensure smooth functioning.
If something bad happened to you during your journey, you must know how to tackle the situation effectively. When you left for long trails, you must check your cell signals so that you can seek out help in case of any problem. You should go off-roading with your group; it would be safe for you.
Some of the significant rules you must abide by during off-roading are as follows:
1. Go With a Plan:
Going off-road without a plan is dangerous for you. You should know where you are going when you will come back and what you have to do in case of any emergency. These minor precautions can save your life.
2. Upgrade Your Vehicle:
You should spend some money to upgrade your vehicle to avoid damaging it and stranding yourself on the trail. In addition, it will save your vehicle from wear and tear during a long journey.
3. Don’t Worry:
You should keep safety in the back of your mind, but you must not forget to have some fun. If you constantly worry about the danger, it will distract you and may ruin the point of driving off-road.
Safety Guidelines While Riding UTVs and ATVs:
Following are the guidelines one needs to abide by while riding UTVs and ATVs:
- Avoid driving ATVs and UTVs on paved roads, as they can be more dangerous on even terrain.
- The rider and passengers must always wear goggles, a knee/elbow pad, a helmet, gloves, and boots when on the fairgrounds.
- If you’re driving a dirt bike or ATV, never have more people on your vehicle than there are seats.
- Stay safe by taking a hands-on safety course before going off-roading.
- Do not go alone irrespective of your skillset.
Safety Tips For Off-Roading:
1. Keep Speed Under Control:
If you are going with a speed of 5mph and unfortunately met an accident, it would be less dangerous. Still, if you are driving at high speed and unfortunately met an accident, it would be deadly hazardous for you and your family.
The lack of speed limit on the off-road makes it more difficult for you to know at which speed you must go.
You should gauge the terrain that you are driving on and decide what a safe rate is. Moving a car slowly is probably the best thing you can do to avoid an accident.
2. Acquire Proper Off-Driving Skills:
It would be best if you took time to learn the proper driving technique to drive off-road; otherwise, you can put your life in trouble.
You can prevent rollovers, crashes, fires, or any other thing that can damage your vehicle. If you do not know how to drive correctly, you can put yourself at a greater risk.
3. High-Quality Parts in Vehicles:
High-quality vehicle components can prevent your vehicle from damages such as cars, ATVs, or any other vehicle. While most ATVs come off-road-ready, the same can not be said for most cars.
Before taking your vehicle on the trail, you must check equipment like an off-road shock absorber, wheels, and other upgrades.
Check out: What to Know Before Going Off-Roading?
4. Factors When You are on the Trail:
5. Hold First Aid Kit With You:
In the event of an emergency, there are some things that you should have with you. You must take a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, and tire puncture repaired equipment with you; these things will help you out in an emergency.
6. Wear Helmet in ATV:
ATV lacks a door, so you must take some safety steps to protect from heat damage, and for this purpose, you must wear a helmet which will save you in case of head fall.
It is more difficult to drive an ATV than a car, so you must learn How to drive ATV properly. There are some other steps, which you must follow for the safety of yourself while driving ATV:
- Never ride after dark.
- Do not put more passengers on ATV than it’s meant for.
- Do not drive ATV on paved roads.
- Ride on trails within your capabilities.
As a bottom line, it is clear that off-roading can be dangerous if you do not take care precautions properly. You can not wholly uproot the danger of off-roading, but you can minimize it by following the safety steps prescribed in this article.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Does Off- Roading Damage Your Car?
Any vehicle you plan to take off-reading off-roading must have the capacity to endure higher than usual odds of being damaged. These damages that took place by off-roading can not be covered by insurance. Off-roading is dangerous for the outer body of a car.
Should you get an alignment after off-roading?
Off-roading takes a toll on your suspension, so this is not exactly a shocker. Still, it would be best to get your wheels aligned as soon as possible to avoid excessive wear and tear on your vehicle.
How many people have died on a three-wheeler?
So many people had died while driving three-wheelers, and this problem compelled the government to ban the sale of 3 wheelers to prevent further deaths. The industry quickly converted to four-wheeled machines, and the sport’s popularity exploded. But in the years since, researchers say more than 6,000 riders have been killed on the new models.
Why Is Off-Roading Not Dangerous?
One of the most repeated questions about off-roading is that is it safe? This question is asked more often, is off-roading that dangerous?
The answer to this question is that off-roading seems dangerous, but its danger can be marginalized by taking preventive measures. If you take proper precautions, off-roading is never strenuous.
How Fast Should You Drive On Off-Road?
The ideal speed, which you must hold during off-roading is below 55mph. Anything above 55mph can prove to be deadly dangerous for your vehicle. You should care of this speed limit to avoid unexpected accidents.
Is off-roading an economical sport?
As the popularity of this extreme sport grows, the regions where off-reading off-roading is most common have seen a new tourist economy sprout up from the “redneck” hobby. This sport is sure to give adrenaline junkies their fix while also proving to be an entertaining and exciting activity for just about anyone to try.
What causes 40% of run off road crashes?
The primary factor which contributes to the occurring of fatal off-road accidents is the negligence of the driver. Certain factors can cause the driver to lose focus, such as sleeplessness, alcohol, and stress.
This is Surya. I am an experienced off-roader. I have been off-roading for many years across several terrains. I am passionate about 4×4 driving and want to share my knowledge and experience with others.
My goal is to provide you with the most comprehensive and unbiased information about off-roading.
I curated this article through my personal experience and expertise, and I hope it helps you with what you are looking for.