Recovery – Safety – Common Sense

G’day, Chris here again.

Recovery ‘experts’ need not read further.

But for those interested in recovery of your vehicle from a bad situation, I figured I’d run a few ideas past you. It probably should be regarded as a topic on safety because that is what its really all about.
Recovery of your 4WD or any other vehicle, camper, van etc, is about how to safely rescue such from a sticky situation, be it lack of forward mobility or otherwise.

I hammer this issue of safety home until people’s ears start to bleed.

There is no excuse for increasing the danger to people or unwarranted damage to vehicles.

Recovery---WaterSure, having a wallow in the mud can be a bit of fun (until you realize the cost of replacing wheel bearings) and playing in the sand dunes or clambering exciting tracks to the pinnacle of a picturesque mountain top gets the adrenalin flowing of any red-blooded Aussie, so the odds of having to drag out the recovery gear to get there are raised at every turn. So when it happens it is ridiculous to think people will risk further damage or injury by not taking a few measures in the first place.

The gung-ho types will always want to prove me wrong, but I always keep a first aid kit on hand otherwise.

Some of the key considerations to a safe recovery is thinking about what you can do first before adding potential danger to your situation. A shovel is a 4WDers best friend and should be reached for first. The less work a snatch strap or winch has to do, the lower the danger levels to man or machine. Then stand back and think first, take measure of the situation and plan every step. You should have already considered exactly the process and what happens at each step before it actually does.

Equipment must be top notch.

I really do cringe when seeing some of the rubbish recovery equipment coming in from some corners of the world and being passed off as ‘quality’, a word which has been diluted of any credibility. I’ve seen snatch straps with the elasticity of a permapine sleeper. High lift jacks that should be relegated to propping up a bonnet, but even then somewhat precariously.

Don’t short change yourself on the gear you rely on to save your $10K, maybe $50K or even more valuable vehicle and trailer combo.
Saving fifty bucks on a high lift jack is laughable.

Next, take charge.

Tell people to nick off if you must, but they will appreciate it later. Strong leadership is admired.
There have been enough horror stories and Youtube videos of people seriously injured or dying from being where they shouldn’t.
When using any strap or similar device, rope, cable etc, have people stand back 1.5 times the length as a minimum. If using a 30m strap, 45M seems a long way until a projectile lands at their feet.
Tell people to use the zoom function if they must capture the fun at hand.

Training and learning is noted last but only to have the most impact on your memory.

There will be some who started reading this and two sentences in figured they know it all already and moved on. No matter what I or anyone else does, we can’t help voluntary ignorance or arrogance. Those who prefer to enjoy a trip no matter how often they get stuck (relative to fun level) will happily go about learning more to help themselves or others.
There are lots of books, courses and club networks to participate in. But learning from a half-cut yobbo who just slipped his end of the strap over your towball is going to end in tears and merely show you how far they fly.

Unfortunately because of the brief nature of these blogs I don’t have space for more specifics, so the message really is to think first at every step, be it buying gear, surveying the situation, and actioning the recovery.

Put safety at the forefront of every decision.

Tell people to nick off and take their Supercrap strap with them. Control the situation and emerge happier for the decisions taken.
You can always fend off the beer-induced opinions around the campfire later but at least your mate commenting won’t have a towball sticking out of his forehead.

See you Outback. Chris

FNB-web-logoChris Blakemore is owner of FNB4WD, Mount Barker Sth Australia

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