WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW WHEN OFF-ROADING IN THE SNOW
Snowy off-road excursions are a fast-growing trend in the off-roading community. Many off-roaders don’t want to miss out on off-roading when there is snow everywhere, and there are several reasons for this.
Off-roading in the snow is challenging, fun, interesting, different, and you can end up seeing some incredible parts of the country that, without the snow, would never look the same!
Winter weather presents its own challenges when off-roading, though. So here we will go over some tips and techniques on how to safely off-road during snowy conditions with your vehicle.
#1. DRESS APPROPRIATELY
You don’t want to go off-roading wearing cotton. It absorbs water very quickly, leading to an increased risk of catching a cold (or worse) if you sweat a lot or get wet from driving through puddles. Cotton should only be worn off-road when there is no chance of rain or a snow storm coming. Otherwise, off-roaders should wear synthetic materials like polyester and nylon, which can help wick away moisture instead of absorbing it.
Off-roading winter gear should always include a face mask, balaclava, neck warmer, insulated gloves and boots, as well as waterproof outerwear.
#2. ASSESS THE CONDITIONS
The first thing you should know is how to assess the conditions. If there is a lot of snow on the ground, it probably isn’t the best time to go off-road yet. Typically off-roading in snow, when you can’t see anything below your axles, isn’t worth the trip at all. This means that most off-road trails won’t be passable until several weeks after they’ve been plowed.
Off-roading becomes very doable once there are less than 18 inches of snow on the ground (around 46 cm). This will allow any off-road trails that were previously used to be passable again. A lot of off-roading is done during this time, but off-roaders should know how to deal with the snow and cold weather conditions before attempting off-roading in the winter.
#3. CHECK FOR DEBRIS
The next thing you want to do before driving through powdery snow is to get out of your vehicle and check for rocks, stumps, logs, etc. If there are obstacles buried under all that snow, then you want to look for them before getting back into your off-road vehicle. While off-roading in the winter, drivers also need to be careful of ditches and trenches as well since they might not have been visible with all that snow on top of it.
#4. CHECK YOUR TIRES
Off-roaders who try driving over deep powder with big heavy tires will quickly find themselves stuck. Drivers should always use lower tire pressures, even 1 psi lower than they’re used to for summer off-roading since this will allow the tires to sink into the snow more and give off-roaders a greater contact patch on the snow.
Snow is great for off-roading if you drive slow and keep in mind that sudden and speedy maneuvers can be dangerous. If you brake or accelerate too quickly, then there is a chance that your wheels might lose their grip on the ground and cause you to slide uncontrollably, which can lead to a loss of control.
#5. USE YOUR LIGHTS
If off-roading in the snow, you should use high beams whenever possible since they can make it much easier to see obstacles off-road and avoid them, especially at night. Off-road lights like fog lamps aren’t really recommended unless driving very slowly and carefully since they only light up a small area directly ahead of the vehicles, making it difficult for off-road drivers to keep track of where they’re driving. In addition, having too many or too-bright off-road lights on can blind other drivers who might be coming from another direction.
#6. KEEP AN EYE ON ROUTINE MAINTENANCE
Always make sure you stay on top of routine maintenance. If the weather forecast predicts bad weather, then off-roaders should check their tire pressure, oil levels, coolant temperatures, brake pads, spare tire pressure just in case something goes wrong on the snowy trail. It’s much better to be safe than sorry off-roading. Don’t get caught off guard. Ensure you take your truck in for an inspection before a big winter off-roading excursion.
# 7. DON’T SPEED
When off-roading, it’s important to give yourself extra time before you leave and drive slowly. Off-roaders also need to remember not to accelerate too quickly since off-roading in the snow with a high-torque vehicle can cause you to spin out and lose control. When off-roading in the snow, drivers should always apply their throttle slowly and utilize low gear for climbing tough terrain.
Another problem off-road drivers will find when off-roading in the snow is that it’s much harder for them to keep track of where they’re driving than during summer. Off-roaders who are used to driving over dirt, grass, mud, or other loose surfaces will often struggle during winter off-roading since powdery snow has virtually no friction, which makes stopping and turning very difficult, especially on steep terrain.
When off-roading in the winter, drivers will want to drive up hills very slowly since off-road vehicles with high centers of gravity like Jeeps and other lifted trucks can slide out backwards if they’re not careful. Off-road winter drivers will also want to avoid sharp turns on steep slopes since this is another way for off-road vehicles to lose traction.
#8. DRIVE SAFELY
Getting stuck is a huge problem during wintertime since it’s hard for off-road drivers to get their vehicles out of the snow and back onto the road or trail.
One of the best ways off-roaders can avoid getting stuck is by ensuring that they drive very cautiously and try not to do any sudden maneuvers which could cause them to lose traction and control. Learning how to brake on loose surfaces like deep powder or gravel is also another way for off-roaders to avoid getting stuck, as this will allow them to stop their vehicle from any speed without spinning out.
GET READY FOR YOUR WINTER OFF-ROAD ADVENTURE
Whether you’re new to off-roading or an experienced mudder, LITU has the knowledge to supply you with aftermarket parts and the latest diagnostics equipment. We are focused on providing high-quality service and customer satisfaction, meeting and exceeding your expectations.
Customer service is job number one for us. We promise to be honest and not push you to purchase something you don’t need. We want you to tell your friends about us and come back whenever you need parts, service, or diagnostics.
We will keep your off-road vehicle running like new and ensure that it is repaired correctly so you never get stuck out on the trail. Contact us today to learn what we can do to help you get out on the trails, enjoying the fresh air and challenge of mudding, climbing, or just taking a trail ride.