Honing The Building Blocks Of Rock Wheeling
If You Think Back To The First Time You Sat Behind The steering wheel of a four-wheel-drive, maybe you can recall the excitement of your first adventure, how you became hooked, and how you thought about perfecting your off-highway driving skills. Perhaps your four-wheel aspirations weren't about conquering the toughest rockcrawling trails or wheeling up the tallest peaks; maybe they were just about being able to explore the backcountry with confidence and skill, knowing that if you found yourself in a tough situation you would have the ability to skillfully and successfully negotiate your way out of it.
Whatever hobby or sport we consider our passion, there was a point in time when we knew very little about it, and for some of us, four-wheeling was that sport.
Anyone can get in a truck and drive, but do they know how to read the terrain ahead of them, and will they know how to react and handle the vehicle and its suspension when it's placed in precarious or dangerous positions? Do they know how to safely spot another driver over an obstacle? Reading a vehicle and terrain at the same time is a skill that's learned from hands-on experience. Basic driving skills are used on the trail, but many factors of automotive physics need to be addressed and there are literally hundreds of other things to consider when driving off highway, such as knowing when it's appropriate to clutch, brake, and accelerate.
Wheeling doesn't always have to be extreme and hard-core, and the staff here at 4-Wheel & Off-Road is always looking for trail time of any form, so when the opportunity to ride along on a rock training clinic for novice four-wheelers popped up, we jumped at the chance. Tom Severin, president of Badlands Off-Road Adventures, holds training clinics and overl and adventure outings around California and the Western U.S. Severin is certified by the International 4-Wheel Drive Trainers Association and is a professional 4WD off-road training instructor with more than 40 years of experience. To top off his credentials, he's an easygoing, nice guy and a fun person to hang out with on the trail.