Between difficult terrain, sudden weather changes and remote locations, off-roading can be a dangerous sport. Even with the superior traction of an Argo, you’re always at risk of having an accident or getting lost. These tips will help you make your next excursion safer.
Check Your Equipment
A damaged winch line can snag, and split cables can cut your hand when setting up the linen. If it snaps under tension, it can whip back violently, seriously injuring anyone in its path.
Wear a Helmet
Helmets don’t just protect your head: the added padding and aerodynamic shape reduce wind turbulence and engine noise. That means less fatigue, increasing your alertness and your enjoyment.
A DOT or ECE approval is good, but a Snell compliant helmet will perform better overall in a crash. Thanks to growing compatibility between the regulations, any Snell helmet will also be DOT approved, so it can be used in states that require a helmet. There are four main points to consider when finding a good fit:
– With the chin strap in place, you should not be able to pull the helmet off of your head.
-The helmet should seal around your ear, but not make direct contact.
– The neck roll should rest comfortably against your neck and the base of your head.
-Cheek pads will break in after a couple of rides. If the rest of the helmet is too tight, you need a larger size.
The material in the helmet will deteriorate over time. Manufacturers recommend replacing helmets every 5 years, no matter how much it has been worn. Always replace your helmet immediately after it has been dropped or used in an accident. Once the protective foam has been crushed, it can’t protect your head.
Are you used to controlling your amphibious ATV in low gear? When is the last time you’ve used the winch? Taking time to familiarize yourself with your Argo will make it easier to use when you’re in the wilderness.
One thing to remember while you practice: climbing in an XTV is different from other vehicles. For maximum stability, drive straight uphill instead of taking slopes at an angle. Your vehicle is more likely to roll over on its side than flip over on its back. Argos can handle sustained climbs up to 30 degrees before the engine’s lubrication system starts to fail.
Let Someone Know Where You’re Going
Have a contact at home that knows the specifics of your trip, including your route and how long you’ll be gone. Keep in touch during the journey. If you don’t call, or you run late, they can contact emergency services.
Even if you’re near cell phone towers, trees and brush can block the signal, putting you out of reach. There are three alternatives that can act as a backup:
– Satellite phones suffer the same tree interference, but they can get reception from any clear area. These phones are expensive, but they’re often available for rent from outfitters.
– Ham radios work at a range of up to 100 miles but require a license. A good portable radio is a fraction of the price of a satellite phone.
– GPS emergency beacons can save you if you get into serious trouble.
You can power and recharge these devices using the 12-volt outlet on your Argo.
Before making the call, plan what you need to say. The more accurately you can identify your location, situation and any medical care you’ve given, the faster emergency services can help you. If you’re limited on battery life, agree to a time to make a second call and shut off your device until then.
Travel in a Group
If you have an accident by yourself, you have to wait until someone drives by. If you’re with other vehicles, you can get help immediately.
Pack for Extra Days of Exploring
You might be planning for an afternoon of driving, but terrain difficulties, equipment failures, and injuries can extend your time on the trail. Have the food, water, and clothing you need to stay safe and comfortable if you get stuck. You should also have more fuel on hand than you think you’ll need in case you have to use a different path or help a stranded off-roader.
Don’t Be in a Hurry
Off-roading requires a lot of concentration. Take frequent breaks to give your mind and body a rest, and err on the side of caution when planning your route for the day. Besides, what’s the fun in going outdoors if you don’t stop to enjoy the scenery?
We Can Help You Get More from Your Argo
Need parts? Don’t want to service your XTV yourself? Want to outfit your Argo with accessories? No matter what you need, Shank’s Argo can help. Visit our shop at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. You can also schedule a demo on our website, www.shanksargo.com.