Off-Road Driving: Fire Emergency
When you have to go off road
Transitioning from a relatively predictable surface to an off-road environment demands mental and physical preparation as well as sound techniques. This entry reinforces basic, yet imperative, strategies for maintaining efficient control of your vehicle amidst the endless unknowns of off-road emergencies.
Use Proper Steering Position on Unpredictable Terrain
Just a microscopic slip of the hand can put you, colleagues, and civilians at risk. Traction-reduced surfaces sometimes cause tires to slip, resulting in the steering wheel snapping in one direction or the other. When this happens, injuries to fingers and wrists are an all-to-common occurrence. Such injuries obviously compromise a driver’s ability to control the vehicle and perform optimally at the emergency scene. At IAPD, we teach nine-and-three:
- The nine-and-three position allows a greater range of left/right turning motion and control; this home position maximizes your control and helps prevent hand and wrist injuries.
- Your hands should always be on the outside and the thumbs should rest on the top of the wheel.
- Never grip the steering wheel on the inside; never wrap your thumbs around the wheel.
- Ideally, your hands should never cross over each other.
Maintain the Vehicle’s Center of Gravity to Manage Slopes
Keeping track of an enormous rig’s center of gravity when driving off-road requires utmost mental and physical engagement. If your truck starts to lean on a hillside or drop off on the side of the road when attempting to turn up the hill, the correct adjustment is to start turning the vehicle down the hill instead. This may not be the direction you want to go, but it could prevent a catastrophic rollover, saving the vehicle and everyone in it.
Speak Up If a Driver Takes Needless Risks
Peer pressure isn’t always a bad thing. If your driver is making risky off-road decisions, don’t be afraid to address the issue in the moment. Lives depend on it.