Coming back from the Independence Day outing, I took some time to reflect on this amazing hobby. Over the years I’ve enjoyed countless hours admiring many fascinating places in the western US. There are so many possibilities open to four-wheeling that at times it’s easy to take this all for granted.
Four-wheelers know that driving privileges on public lands can be curtailed or eliminated. Responsible drivers are diligent about taking care of property and following the rules.
But when we act responsibly – and encourage others to do the same – we help ensure a future for this fun hobby. As I reflected further, I came up with five broad categories or qualities that we can celebrate about four-wheeling.
Magnificent natural areas to explore. Four wheelers have access to numerous state parks, federal parks, and BLM lands. The views can be stunning and the experiences last a lifetime. Some locations are only accessible by a 4WD vehicle.
Access to those public properties continues because 4WD enthusiasts are responsible individuals. They adhere to Tread Lightly!, “Pack It In, Pack It Out,” and other principles that promote good stewardship.
A hobby that allows us to enrich our driving skills while we explore. Four-wheeling often exposes drivers to various obstacles and challenges, such as crevices, soft terrain, steep hills, and rocky terrain.
Skills gained mastering off-road obstacles can be applied to urban environments. Driving in snow, for example, uses many of the same techniques employed for sand or soft terrain.
Another example entails avoiding an accident on the freeway. Because you’re experienced driving in tight spaces, you can recognize an opening between crashed vehicles that other drivers won’t. You confidently slip through, knowing full well where your front and back wheels are.
Great vehicles that help us enjoy our hobby. Newer vehicles come equipped with features designed for off-road use. Some of those features include hill descent, traction control, anti-sway bar disconnects, and front axle disconnects.
The downside, though, is that all those new buttons can be intimidating. Instruction classes on the proper use of these features allow drivers to take full advantage of everything their vehicles offer.
Peer support in the four-wheeling community. Thousands of like-minded people are willing to share their knowledge and skills with others. This is really evident when there is a breakdown. Other drivers – sometimes total strangers – stop by to help get a disabled vehicle back on the trail.
Many four-wheelers post blogs, host podcasts, and offer other educational tools to educate audiences on the finer points of this hobby.
Strong organizations backing our cause. Professional associations, hobby publications, and four-wheeling groups further educate on the many aspects of four-wheeling. They encourage drivers to obey the rules and be courteous when off-road.
These organizations also work to spread a positive image of four-wheeling. They educate the lay public on the positive aspects of our hobby while dispelling many of the myths.
A four-wheel drive vehicle represents a degree of freedom. It allows us to go places and see things that not everybody can. But there’s so much more to the hobby. And the memories of time spent with friends and family members are cherished for a lifetime.
Having the freedom to go four-wheeling is truly something special to celebrate.