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Wilderness Ahead: Ways to Be Safe When Driving in the Wild

Updated November 22, 2013

Driving off the beaten track can be a liberating experience. Whether you’re traveling with a destination in mind or simply enjoying the scenery, wilderness driving should be something to enjoy. It’s important, however, to bear in mind the risks that come with the pleasure. Here are some hazards and precautions you should know about before driving in the wilderness.

Is There Danger Ahead?

The most important thing to remember is that empty, natural, and seemingly untouched places are in fact teeming with life – and life that can assert itself at any moment. Driving carelessly through the winding rural roads puts you in the way of all kinds of potential dangers. Wilderness motorways are almost always less maintained than more traveled paths. This means that the surrounding nature can get in your way. Fallen trees, flooded waterways, frozen ice patches; if the season is right, anticipate any of the above on your road. Animals will also sometimes make an appearance on highways. Far from heavy traffic, animals in remote parts of the world have not been acclimatized to human presence and are less attuned to the danger you pose. When they aren’t expecting you – and you aren’t expecting them – you pose mutual dangers to each other. Many accidents are caused by drivers colliding with large mammals or swerving to avoid collision. Finally, remember that there are bound to be other drivers on the road. Even if you go for hours without seeing another car, you should bet that someone else is out there and is as distracted as you by the scenery. They might be moving too fast, and they might not be staying within lines as well as they do in the city.

Ways to Stay Safe

Fortunately, there are methods of minimizing the risk of accident in these conditions. Begin by following the speed limit and paying attention to road signs that may inform you of upcoming hazardous areas. If visibility is poor or conditions are slippery, slow down to give yourself enough time to react to dangerous situations. Avoid using cruise control, as it can lull you into a false sense of security and cause you to pay less attention to your driving. If you encounter an animal, come to a stop without swerving. Pull off the roadside and alert other drivers with your hazard lights. Stay in the car until you’re sure that the animal is safely out of your way. Remember that where there’s one animal, there are often many animals. Keep watch for other company after the first animal has left. Finally, prepare for emergency. Remember that cellphone reception may be limited or non-existent. Plan to wait for help with a flashlight, shovel, first aid kit, water and food, and warm blankets and clothing. Driving in the wilderness should be fun and adventurous. Most of all though, it should be safe. Use these driving techniques to protect yourself and the environment you’re driving through.

Roger Buckshot is a noted author and survial instructor in the state of Ohio, he’s also been working on his own cars and trucks since he was old enough to turn a wrench. he also blogs for a site that helps people find deals on cars at



Calvin Escobar
About Calvin Escobar

The Car scene is so diverse Where I come from, most enthusiasts recognize the amazing engineering (particularly the engines). The bulk of the ridicule originates from the manner in which many of the vehicles are modded/maintained. Thus, the jokes and or hate tends to be aimed more at the owner rather than the machine. All of which makes seeing properly sorted old Toyota's and Hondas at car meets, auto shows, and track days all the more refreshing.

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