Tips & Tricks - Off Roading


At last, I am writing something for the adrenaline junkies of the automobile world. Although I have decent driving experience on the road, there is always the urge to try something new off it. A new track, a new vehicle and a new driving condition is what appeals to the motorist in me. This is the case with most car enthusiasts and I must admit that the idea of testing a vehicle to its limits can be fun. Some would argue that off-roading is strictly for nature lovers who want to be at peace with nature in the most natural of surroundings possible. Don't worry; this is just an excuse to go off-road. So what exactly does the term Off-Roading mean? A technical definition would state that it is the practice of using specialized vehicles to traverse unpaved roads, river beds, rocks, sand, mud, snow or any other natural terrain. These vehicles are exclusively manufactured or modified to handle such extreme driving conditions. This concept perhaps developed with the idea of specially designed light combat vehicles capable of conquering most terrains that were used in the two World Wars. For off-road enthusiasts, it means having fun while taking their off-road vehicle to places where normal vehicles can't reach and on the way testing their driving capabilities and the endurance limits of their vehicle to the maximum. For the best experience in going off road, you need a vehicle capable enough to support the activity or else you will end up stuck in the middle of nowhere. Such vehicle are specifically designed keeping off-road conditions in mind and hence host features like high ground clearance, sturdy tires, four-wheel-drive, front and rear locking differentials and powerful engines. There are modern off-road vehicles that also come with features like Traction Control, Adjustable Suspension, all-wheel-drive etc. Some vehicles types suitable for off-road use are the 4x4 heavy-duty trucks, SUVs (Sports Utility Vehicles), ATVs (All Terrain Vehicles), dirt bikes, snow-mobiles, mountain bikes etc. Off-Roading as a sport has gained tremendous popularity over the years and there are member's clubs dedicated to further the interests of off-roaders. It is a recreational activity for people who can afford to spend on it. You can certainly enjoy this sport even if you don't own a 4x4 vehicle by joining one of these clubs. Some off-road sports include Green-laning, Mudding, Dune Bashing, Rock Crawling and Formula Off-Roading. Although there are restrictions on this kind of sport in certain countries but that does not stop adventure seekers from exploring natural terrains with their vehicles. Vehicle manufacturers have spent millions of dollars on research trying to manufacture the perfect off-road vehicles capable of handling not only extreme driving conditions and terrain but deliver peak performance under normal conditions as well. Some of the better known vehicle manufactures in the world, famous for their off-road models are Jeep, Land Rover and General Motors. Off-Road enthusiasts do not rely only on their vehicles. Experienced off-roaders will tell you that driving techniques are a prerequisite for conquering extreme natural terrains. Also, there is no point in driving a fully loaded off-road vehicle when you don't know what feature of the car to employ in which driving condition. In this case, lack of knowledge can be dangerous. Every terrain has a specific driving technique. For Example, muddy roads require constant acceleration without reaching higher engine revs. Whatever the terrain, it is important that you know what driving techniques to employ in order to negotiate the conditions safely and enjoy the drive. Whatever said and done, off-roading is here to stay and I would not be surprised if this practice gains more popularity in the years ahead. James Rodham
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