Most people drive their pickup trucks on the highway to travel to from place to place. Some owners, however, want to take their trucks out for one of the most energizing, adrenaline-boosting activities out there: off-roading. The Ford Raptor is one of the best street-legal pickup trucks designed with off-roading in mind. Whether you’re an expert or a new driver, all Raptor owners should know these safety tips for going off-road with your Ford Raptor to protect yourself and your vehicle.
Off-roading is the act of driving your pickup truck on unsurfaced roads or paths, like rocks, gravel, sand, or mud. Some risks do come with going off-roading though. Getting stuck, risking injury, or vehicle malfunction can all occur during an off-roading trek. It’s important to know basic off-roading essentials, such as what to bring or not bring, what to do to prepare, and how to responsibly drive over natural terrain.
What to Bring
Typically, you should bring supplies and tools along in case of emergencies. You can never predict what can happen when off-roading. Some basics to pack just in case include the following:
- First-Aid Kit: A must-have, first-aid kits are crucial in case of cuts, burns, or other injuries. Pack adhesive strips, alcohol pads, antibiotic ointment, burn cream, gauze, and medical tape. All these first-aid supplies are easy to find and pack in your truck.
- Food and Water: It’s essential to carry extra food and water with you in case you get stuck or you’re away from other food or water sources. Pack enough for you and any passengers. Make sure to bring non-perishable snack foods like trail mix, granola bars, and dried fruit for energy. Additionally, you should always bring extra water. It’s a good idea to pack water purification tablets as well in case you get stuck near a natural water source.
- Extra clothes: Warm clothes will help for most weather conditions. Dressing in layers or packing extra clothes is important if you plan to leave the vehicle. This might occur to fix the truck, you’re stuck in mud, or other reasons. Pack blankets as well in case temperatures drop.
- Seat belt cutter and glass breaker: These are used for extreme emergencies, such as if your truck rolls over or you get into an accident where you need to escape but cannot do so. Keep these on hand because it’s better to have them and not need them than to need them and not have them.
What Not to Bring
While there are items you should bring for every off-road trip, there are certain items you should never bring. These items include the following:
- Drugs and alcohol: You should never bring any substance that will impair your driving ability. Off-roading can be a dangerous activity, and accidents can happen when sober. You need the best judgement to travel on rough road conditions or over rough terrain to protect you and your vehicle.
- Waste: Whether its trash, oil, or other waste, don’t bring it on your trip. Everyone should get to enjoy off-roading, and leaving trails littered and messy ruins the experience. Not to mention, it’s bad for the environment. Remember to properly dispose of any new waste to avoid this issue.
Now that you know what to bring and not bring, you want to make sure your truck has the proper maintenance performed before you leave. Check to see if the truck is in optimal off-road condition. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and aligned for smooth driving. Similarly, check the interior and under the truck for any leaks or mechanical problems. Also, all fluids should be replaced so that there are no other issues. Your engine oil, transmission fluid, braking fluid, and coolant are all important for off-roading, as it places a lot of stress on your vehicle. Check the steering and brakes as well. It’s crucial to ensure your truck is in the best condition for traveling on rough terrain.
Naturally, driving off-road is more difficult than driving on paved surfaces. Fortunately, there are some driving tips for this purpose. Before leaving, check the weather conditions of the area. While mudding requires rainy or wet weather, you want to avoid any storms if you will drive on sand dunes or rocky surfaces. Something to keep in mind is that driving as fast as possible won’t benefit you. In fact, you want to drive slowly. Of course, going up a hill or incline will require some acceleration, but driving too fast will risk damaging something or getting stuck. With that in mind, you should also stay on the trail rather than to trying to find a new route. Driving on previously used paths make for a better drive, but not every vehicle can handle a path the same as well. Still, the Ford Raptor is sure to take on any obstacle or incline with the right driver. You may also find it might help to lower tire pressure to increase traction. This increases the contact between tire and surface area, and it allows the tires to mold better around obstacles.
Responsibility is one of the most important parts to off-roading. Some things to always keep in mind are your safety and your affect on the surrounding environment. To ensure you know what’s coming, you should walk the trail before driving. This will give you a clear indication of where to go and what to look for. Similarly, you should bring a friend. Having someone with you will provide good company as well as a good navigator. Likewise, do not destroy the wilderness and ruin the experience for others. Don’t spin your tires and ruin the soil as this leads to erosion during storms. Don’t disturb the wildlife or litter, as both ruin the aesthetic and natural ecosystem. Also, leave everything as it was found. Preserving the trail’s integrity will make it last longer for future drivers.
If your truck’s in proper condition and you abide by the rules, your Ford Raptor will have no problem off-roading. It’s designed for durability, safety, and comfort since its specifically designed for off-road travel, although it’s street safe too. No matter how you utilize your Raptor, make sure to outfit it with the best performance parts on the market. Check out our official Raptor LED light kits. We carry fog and LED kits to give you the best visibility for your off-road experience.