We sincerely want you to stay safe. Not an easy thing to do as driving and riding on unpaved roads has inherent risks. Oncoming vehicles on narrow roads, travelling in remote areas, less than ideal road surfaces, long distance travel and many other factors all combine to make the safety factor low on the scale. There are several things you can do to reduce the danger of this sport, this is not a comprehensive list of them but rather just a few to get your mind working and thinking safety while planning your next overland expedition.
Plan: Planning is the most important thing you can probably do to reduce the risk to you, your travelling companions and the people you meet. Play the “what if game”. What if I ran out of gas, what if I have a flat tire or other mechanical issue, what if I got lost, what if someone got hurt, what if the trail or road becomes impassable, what if a bear comes into camp, what if we have to walk out of here, what if we get seeprated. Having answers for these and other “what if” questions will go a long way to making your expedition a safer and happier experience.
Prepare: A prepared person will enjoy the sport/hobby/lifestyle of overland travel a lot more than those who don’t. It’s easier to get away with lack of preparing for a short trip than it is a long trip. Finding out your batteries died on your gps in the middle of nowhere and not having spares, finding out you should have packed warmer clothes, finding out you should have brought an oil filter as non are available for your vehicle, finding out you are only travelling at half the speed you thought you would be due to road conditions and so on. Sometimes it’s nice not to half to prepare and just travel on fate alone. This is not a wise idea in remote areas. Being properly prepared can go a long way to making your trip safer and more enjoyable. Do your homework and it will pay off for you.
Take Your Time: There is no prize for going the fastest. Speeds along with pushing yourself too hard are recipes for disaster. The first 30 minutes and the last 30 minutes of a day are when the majority of accidents happen. Why? An easy answer, during the first thirty minutes people are excited and travelling to quickly, during the last thirty minutes become are fatigued. This sounds easy but can become hard to do when travelling in a group or trying to stick to hard coded itinerary. Address these issues prior to starting out.
If you planned accordingly you won’t have to rush, if you’re prepared properly you shouldn’t have to rush. Of course there are many other factors to consider when talking about safety but we firmly believe these three are a good starting point. First aid equipment and know how, spare parts for your vehicle, using modern technology like a Spot tracker and many more are all very important as well. If the “big three” are given some serious thought they will include all of these items.
Off road and non paved travel is dangerous by nature, we encourage you to take the risks seriously. Know that we have provided suggested routes. Of course they may not be doable. Road closures and the environment can create situations where the suggested routes are not feasible. The key word here is SUGGESTED routes. Don’t compromise your safety by trying to follow a route that gets you in over your head. Turning around is not a shameful thing to do, it’s smart.