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Rock Crawling Spotting Hand Signals - McNulty's Misadventures

Posted in How To on August 1, 2008
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The Other Day I Was Four-wheeling a nasty little trail when I had an enlightening experience. I was attempting to negotiate a four-point turn while traversing an extremely narrow switchback on a steep side hill. My Spidey sense was tingling so I jumped out of the Jeep to check things out. Walking around to the passenger side, I found the front tire of the vehicle just starting to break over the edge of a 100-foot drop-off. A few things immediately came to mind, a few choice words we can't print, and the realization, if I had a spotter, this wouldn't have happened.

After five or six nerve-racking maneuvers, the Jeep was backed safely out of its predicament. Two thoughts came to mind: I had just broken my golden rule about not wheeling alone, and a spotter is really important. Just about anyone can spot a vehicle on the trail. However, not everyone can spot in risky situations, where four-wheeling experience is needed.

There aren't any universally recognized hand signals on the trail, but everyone should know some basics. We've watched many people mindlessly waving their hands about, only confusing drivers. It is best to have one spotter you know well and trust and, between the two of you, to come up with some hand signals you'll remember. It will make your adventures safer, and you'll probably drive off the trail with far less vehicular damage.

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