All of preparation in the world won’t do you an ounce of good if you don’t wear your seatbelt on the trail. Conversely, that seatbelt won’t help you much if a bag of tools smacks you in the head. In order to stay safe in a rollover you have to plan ahead, stay calm during the roll, and perform a safe recovery and some basic inspections to assess the damage. One part won’t work without the other. You need to be prepared before, during, and after to ensure that you drive away safely.
|• If you have an open-top vehicle like a Jeep, Land Cruiser, Samurai, or early Bronco, a rollbar is mandatory. A full cage is even better.|
|• Your seatbelts won’t do you any good if you don’t wear them. Also make sure that the mounting points for your retrains are not rusty, and use Grade 8 hardware.|
|• Anything that is not strapped down is going for a ride when you roll and could hit you in the head.|
|• When you panic you stop thinking rationally. Close your eyes and mouth to prevent dirt, broken glass, or other debris from entering them.|
|• If you are driving keep your hands on the steering wheel with your thumbs to the outside, passengers should hold onto their seatbelts or the grab handle on the dash.|
|• Try to make your body as small as possible to reduce the chances of banging your knees on the dash or your head on the rollcage.|
|• Turn it off! Kill the ignition as soon as possible to keep from running with no oil pressure and to reduce the chance of electrical shorts. Also put the vehicle in Park or in gear so it doesn’t roll away after it is recovered.|
|• Now is not the time to be in a big hurry. Devise a plan for recovering your vehicle safely, and determine who is responsible for each task.|
|• Check all your fluid levels, including the brake master cylinder, radiator, power steering, tranny, and engine oil. Automatic transmissions in particular need to be full in order to function properly, so carry spare ATF. Don’t crank the engine until the cylinders are clear of liquid to prevent engine damage.|
Don’t be Dumb!
these are the party fouls we see most often on the trail. They happen because people get lazy, are in a hurry, or just don’t know any better. While they may not normally be a big deal, forming bad habits can make a bad situation much worse when the poo hits the fan.