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Taking Responsability For Yourself - August 2009 Off-Road Rant

Off-Road Rant

I want to talk to you about a problem in our country today: Our government and private corporations have for too long let us exercise personal responsibility. In this day and age of being able to blame someone else when we screw up, I can't believe the good majority of us have wasted so much time, money, and effort being accountable for our own actions when we could be making someone else pay for our blunders. But thankfully for us all, there are a few bad apples looking out for ways to make money and cancel out further basic freedoms for the majority in order to save a dimwitted few from themselves.

Seriously, do you think you're really qualified to take care of yourself? Of course not! Thankfully, our courts have made sure that we can blame entities like cigarette companies for making us smoke ourselves to death, or fast-food corporations that allow us to hold our own hot cup of coffee or eat their food until we get so fat we don't fit through doorways. Don't they know that most of us should be wearing helmets when driving to work?!

If you put a soldering iron up your nose and burned yourself, who is going to pay for that?! Certainly not you! There should be a danged label on that thing telling you not to shove that thing into orifices on your body, because unfortunately soldering irons looks like pretty darn good scratchin' tools!

What if I drank some antifreeze (it smells so yummy) when I got thirsty? Shouldn't I be able to sue Mountain Dew because its soda looks like coolant?

In case you didn't catch it already, please, please recognize that I am being sarcastic.

If you do something reasonably unintelligent, you should expect to take responsibility for it. But maybe I'm asking too much. After all, this is the 21st century. One of Darwin's better theories (survival of the fittest) was negated long ago by societies and civilizations that began to prevent the extinction of the more feebly minded.

Currently, there's another case in court proceedings questioning how much personal responsibility should be expected. If you haven't heard, Yamaha temporarily stopped selling all Rhinos across the United States and has done a voluntary repair program (not a recall) for all Rhinos it's ever sold after pressure from the CPSC (Consumer Products Safety Commission) and a class-action lawsuit began to trump up accusations of these machines being killers. Apparently, a very small number of Rhino operators (much less than 1 percent) have injured themselves or died in a Rhino after not taking the proper safety precautions to protect themselves during UTV operation. These injured few, or the families of the injured, have been joined together by some attorneys to start a class-action suit against Yamaha (good lawyers-I know there are lots of you out there, and sorry to keep picking on your profession, but but someone really needs to control your ambulance-chasing brethren). Now, I empathize with individuals who lost family members in UTVs, especially children, but those families/friends should look past the anger and sadness of their loss to realize some responsibility for whatever incident occurred. It's not that these UTVs are failing-it's that they are driven improperly, and often times without safety gear on. The organized groups against Rhinos are trying to evoke emotion for their class-action lawsuit by putting the children on the forefront, but I simply have to ask, "Where were the parents who let their small child drive a Rhino by his or herself in the first place?" You're telling me that Yamaha is more responsible for a child's injury than a lack of supervision?

Yes, it's a tragedy whenever anyone gets hurt doing anything, but we have to expect potential consequences when doing certain activities. My best advice to anyone doing anything risky would be to be prepared for the worst and don't be surprised if something happens one day.

This Month:
We finally got a chance to get into the new Ford Raptor F-150 that will be the most advanced out-of-the-box off-road truck to date when it is released with Fox suspension. We also made it out to Moab, Utah, this month-one of our most favorite off-roading places on Earth.

We spent much of August's issue addressing steering systems and how to make your brakes better in various off-road rides. If there are two all-important safety facets to keep tip-top on your 4x4, it has to be your brakes and steering.