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Hold a Drivers' Meeting Before Each Trip

Drivers Meeting
Photo by Jim Weary

Good communication can make or break a trip. It's crucial that the message is understood as intended. The more individuals involved in a trip and the more often you change plans, the more opportunity for confusion.

As trail leader, you should establish routine procedures to ensure your guests understand what you are trying to communicate. This applies whether you are discussing matters face-to-face, over the radio, or by hand signals. At a minimum, being misunderstood can be annoying or an inconvenience. At worst, it can have deadly consequences.


Even though written communication is great, an in-person meeting is a necessary follow up. Participants have a chance to ask questions, and you receive important feedback. These take place during a driversí meeting.

Held at the beginning of your trip and whenever needed during the trip, a driversí meeting covers all the important aspects, including:
  1. Your plan and map. Lay out a map and identify the route. Let everyone know the goal for the day, including sightseeing stops, obstacles ahead, side trips, hikes, and the intended location of camp for the night. Add anything else that is appropriate. Your guests will enjoy the trip more knowing what to expect.

  2. The ďrules of the roadĒ as they apply to where you are going. Be sure to cover any new rules that may apply later in the day as your course changes.

  3. Safety rules. I have five general ones. There are: inspect your vehicle before and after each trip; always wear seatbelts; apply the emergency brake whenever the vehicle is parked; avoid hanging on a vehicle that is stuck or being recovered; and no drinking alcohol during the day. You may think up other rules; feel free to add to this list.

  4. Caravan rules. Remind drivers that they are responsible for the trailing vehicle. After clearing an obstacle or fork in the road, look back to make sure the other vehicle is still following and hasnít got stuck or lost. Wait for your turn on difficult obstacles, and keep up but donít tailgate.

  5. Spotting procedures. Review the hand signals you intend to use that day. Make sure your spotter understands the signals.

  6. Radio procedures. Discuss the radio system and frequency or channel to be used. Verify that everyone has that capability. Have each driver test his equipment before starting the trip and after any long breaks.

  7. Medical risks. Review any hazards you may encounter along the route. These can include plants and animals, as well as weather-related issues such as heatstroke and sunburn.

  8. Environmental concerns. Make sure your drivers know how to clean up after themselves, dispose of hazardous liquids, and otherwise take good care of the environment. Impress upon them that what they take in must be brought out.

  9. Tread lightly issues. Four-wheeling often occurs in sensitive areas. Remind drivers to stay on designated trails and to avoid disturbing plants and animals.

  10. Fire safety. Campfires and other open flames must be handled carefully, especially in dry areas. Drivers must be careful with matches and smoking materials, as well.


A checklist is very useful for your driversí meeting. You can create your own from the points above and modify it to suit your particular trip. Donít short change your drivers meeting and your trip will flow much smoother!



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Notes

Got Desert ID?

Last year Russ Rogers lost a good friend, Mike Roack. Mike had his ID on him, but no one knew where he was camped, or who to call. This scary situation prompted Russ and his wife Valerie to come up with a new program called: Got Desert I.D.? As the desert season starts up again, it is worth a reminder of this valuable program. The Desert IDs are in heavy vinyl pouches that can be simply zip tied in plain sight to any vehicle. In addition to the usual stuff (name, age, medical alert info and contact person) the form has a place to write your camp site location or GPS.
You can find order information and cost at this URL: http://www.gotdesertid.com/about.html

Let Someone Know Where You are Going

While we are on the subject, check out Trailnote.com. This is a digital version of the post it note, you leave with a friend to say where you are going and when to expect you back.
Here is the URL but for future reference notice that it is trailnote (no s in note) and not trailnotes: http://trailnote.com/

S&S Magazine

I meet Sherri Kukla the editor of S&S Magazine quite Serendipitously less than a year ago and have been receiving the magazine ever since. The magazine is packed full with off-road events of every type in Southern California. It has interesting articles of course, but my favorite part is the ads from local companies you never heard of before with great stuff. The annual subscription is only $16.
Send Sherri an email at editor@ss-offroadmagazine.com. If you tell her you, in the email, you hear about the magazine from Badlands Off-Road Adventures, she will start a free 3 month subscription for you. Make sure you include your mailing address and name.

You can also subscribe on line at:
www.ss-offroadmagazine.com
P.O. Box 845 - Borrego Springs CA 92004
S&S Off Road Magazine has been published BY off roaders, FOR off roaders since 1982!

Basic to Advanced Winching DVD

Order a copy of our winching DVD and save yourself!
http://www.4x4training.com/Products/WinchDVD.html

BTW, we are looking for dealers and have a sweet margin available for stocking dealers.

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Related Articles from Badlands Off-road Adventures

Did you miss the previous article?



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Wilderness First Aid Course Jan 29 & 30, 2011


WFA Clinic Example

I feel that Wilderness First Aid is very important and have scheduled a Class for January next year. But, we need at least 12 people to sign up by December 12th to make it a go! A number of people sent me an email indicating they would be interested. We need everyone to send in their registration now and we need about 6 additional. So if you are interested follow these links. More Details...


You can register directly at http://www.4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#WFA




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NEW: T&T Rail Road Adventure in November


Death Valley

Be the first to go on this trip with me and debug it for the next group!
Our goal is to cross through Johnson Valley, enjoying what it has to offer, and making our way North along the old Tonopah & Tidewater (T&T) Rail Road bed to the Rasor OHV, Afton Canyon and the western edge of the Mojave Preserve. On the way we will skirt the Rodman Mountain Wilderness and cross I-40. This adventure is 2 days of scenic, historical, light wheeling and a night (2 if you prefer) of primitive camping under the stars. We can plan a Dutch Oven pot luck for our evening meal.
Check out the details and sign up on the website: http://www.4x4training.com/Adventures/TTRailroad.html


You can register directly at http://www.4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#TTRailroad


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Winch Clinic December 12, 2010


Now what

This one day clinic starts with the basics but goes way beyond. By the end of the day you will be safely rigging some complex recoveries. The course covers: safety related issues, basic operation of the winch, simple and complex riggings, stuck assessment, winch capability, and minimizing environmental impact. This is a hands on class. More Details...


You can register directly at http://www.4x4training.com/calendar/calendar.php#Winch


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2011 Schedule

Rubicon

The event schedule for 2011 is now on the web site.
Thank you to those who brought a few date errors to my attention.



I hope to see you on the trails!
Tom Severin, President
Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc
4-Wheel Drive School
310-374-8047
http://www.4x4training.com
Make it Fun. Keep it Safe.
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If you find this information valuable, please pass it on to a friend. You can forward them the email. If you received a forwarded copy of this newsletter and would like to subscribe for yourself, go to: www.4x4training.com/contacts.html and follow the instructions to join our mail list.
Want To Use This Article In Your Magazine, E-Zine, Club Newsletter Or Web Site? You are welcome to use it anytime, just be sure to include the following author/copyright information: Tom Severin, 4x4 Coach, teaches 4WD owners how to confidently and safely use their vehicles to the fullest extent in difficult terrain and adverse driving conditions. Visit www.4x4training.com to develop or improve your driving skill.

Copyright 2010, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.





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