The Less Traveled Road: Why People Go Off-Roading

Driving on city streets has become more of a chore, one that gets you from one point to another, than an enjoyable activity. You must contend with hours of lost time from traffic, the heavy smog from air pollution, and the bad behaviors from other drivers. Transportation analytics company INRIX even estimated that drivers in the US lost more than $88 billion in 2019 due to traffic congestion, with New York City having the highest economic losses out of the major cities.

It is no wonder that some people want to escape the gridlock and try going off-road. They see the lack of paved roads and the abundance of nature—mud, rocks, and trees included—as a blessing and an escape. The chance to leave the stress of city driving, rough it up on uneven terrain, and conquer challenging obstacles has created a community of off-roaders. Here are other reasons why they’ve come to love this recreational activity.

It is a safe hobby if you stick to the guidelines.

Contrary to popular belief, off-roading doesn’t mean driving wherever one pleases. Most off-road driving happens on designated dirt roads, established routes, and marked trails. It is a hobby where safety is regarded as the number one priority. For beginners, it is even recommended to enlist the help of an experienced guide to show them the ropes of maneuvering before embarking on their own adventure.

Organizations like the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association (ROHVA) also exist to promote safe and responsible off-road activities. They spend their time educating new drivers, visiting trails for safety checks, and even patrolling the area for any unfortunate soul stuck in the mud. In some cases, they even suggest how you can optimize your truck with accessories like led light bars or steel wheels.

It will make you a better driver.

Off-road drivers must be careful on how they plan to approach obstacles, from fallen boulders and riverbeds to muddy swamps and sand dunes. One wrong move can overturn the vehicle on its side or get the wheels stuck.

You will get an intimate look at how you are as a driver, as well as the capabilities of your car. How’s your steering technique? Are you quick to panic if something doesn’t go your way? Does your vehicle respond easily to your instruction? Insights like these are valuable in improving your competencies as a driver. They might even improve how you navigate city streets, especially when emergencies or accidents happen.

Off road jeepIt fosters a sense of community.

It’s easy to find like-minded individuals in the off-road community who are open to sharing their approach strategies and car builds. You can find them in Reddit threads, non-profit organizations, and maybe even in your local neighborhood if you just ask. At the heart of every hobby lies the cultivation of human connections forged through shared interests. The bond is even stronger, with more challenging activities.

Off-roading is also not a one-person activity. Having companions that can be spotters can help warn drivers on what they can’t see and instruct him on how to conquer challenges. They can also lend a hand when the truck needs a little push to get going.

Many enthusiasts find themselves enjoying going on regular off-road adventures. The high regard for safety, learnings on how to become a better driver, and the supportive community make them come back for more.

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