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Tom Severin

Are You a Roads Scholar?

Borrego Springs, CA

 

Off-road vehicles aren’t exactly sports cars. In fact, just the opposite. We can’t safely drive then the same way as our family car. They take longer to stop, are less stable in fast turns, and sometimes have poor visibility. Poor drivers (the bottom 25%, or 1 in 4) don’t realize this. They often don’t allow us space (much less a semi) to stop, turn, etc.

Anecdotally, I figure I drive only about 10% of any four-wheeling trip off-road. That means 90% of my driving time is on paved roads. That’s probably true for you as well.

This means we must substitute reading terrain and picking lines with defensive driving and avoiding road rage for a greater distance.

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Tom Severin

San Rafael a Swell of a Drive

Sometimes the best 4WD trips are those taken mostly on a whim. Such was the case with my recent visit to the San Rafael Swell of Utah. It is a fascinating area, and one that offers a tremendous amount of four wheeling opportunities.

Running right up the interior of Emery County in central Utah, the San Rafael Swell is part of a large and intriguing land mass. Tens of millions of years ago massive upheavals in the planet’s crust created a “dome” of rock—a swell in scientific terms. Over time the elements carved away at the rock leaving valleys, canyons, mesas and other formations. The heart of it all is called San Rafael Swell. Imbedded in the Swell is a section called Little Grand Canyon for its resemblance to the more famous attraction.

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Tom Severin

How To Properly Abandon A Vehicle

As Trail Leader, you should plan for issues and problems. Some plans are generic since you cannot predict the exact situation. You apply your skills, tools, and techniques to the problem. A first aid kit is a good example. 

For some issues you can speculate what might happen and develop a specific contingency plan. One that falls into that category is the need to leave your vehicle behind. 

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Tom Severin

Wilderness First Aid Training Valuable On And Off The Trails

We were returning from the Easter Safari at Moab. It was a nice drive that Saturday: sunny and warm but gusty. Soon after turning onto I-15, my radio crackled. Tim, one of my friends, excitedly reported a “major accident” involving a vehicle that had just passed him in the fast lane.

Caught by a sudden gust of wind, the Jeep careened into the cement retaining wall in the median, then bounced off into the guard rail on the other side, flipping several times in the process. Tim managed to narrowly miss being involved in the carnage.

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Tom Severin

Complicated Issue? - Trail Spacing!

Bunch up when stopping on the trail to take pictures.

Four wheeling, especially when multiple vehicles are involved, requires teamwork to be successful. Everyone must be on the same page for the trip to come off without a hitch—or as flawlessly as possible. Something as basic as vehicle spacing can affect parts of a trip. 

They were strung out in Gohler Gulch wash in California one summer day. It was a large group, some 10 vehicles of various types. At one point the group reached a particularly challenging patch. 

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