Chevrolet Thailand recently invited non-SUV drivers on an off-road event in Kanchanaburi called “The Ultimate Test Drive Experience,” where participants tackled various terrains in an AWD Chevrolet Trailblazer and it’s got us in a rugged-go-anywhere mood.
Though, it’s important to do things properly and safely. And so as to not be stranded in the middle of nowhere, here are a few points to brush up on your off-road knowledge before you hit the trails:
1) You Need AWD
This will be obvious to most, but not all. Make sure your weapon of choice is AWD/4WD, because you won’t get very far very without it.
2) Proper Seating Position
This also sounds obvious, but you’re going to be bouncing around a lot more in the cabin so ensure your seating position and pedal reach is perfect before you head out.
3) Correct Grip
Hold the wheel at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock, but don’t put your thumbs around the inside of the steering wheel. An odd jolt or bump could turn the wheel quickly and cause your thumb to turn awkwardly, potentially causing an injury to your thumb or wrist. Instead, hold the wheel firmly with your thumbs up.
4) Know What You Have
Unless you’re piloting something with a few years under its belt, you’re vehicle will likely be equipped with several safety systems like ABS and ESP. Get acquainted with those systems before you leave and figure out which ones can be disabled, if need be.
5) Get Traction
Don’t apply too much gas if you get stuck in mud or sand. If you happen to be in a Chevrolet Trailblazer, or variety of other GM vehicles with automatic TSC (traction control system), the system will reduce engine power and apply braking to the slipping wheels so you exit more easily.
6) Controlled Descent
As anyone whose driven down a steep grade will tell you, going downhill can be both dangerous and terrifying. But systems such as the Trailblazer’s HDC (hill descent control) system can make the movement a whole lot easier. Once you push the button, the system applies the brakes on all four wheels independently to limit speed to 7 Km/h (4.3 mph).
7) Get the Proper Accessories
Be sure to gather up the following gear to ensure a smooth trip:
• All-terrain tires (and a full-size spare)
• Tire gauge, deflator and electronic air compressor kit
• Multi-purpose tool, shovel and axe
• High-lift jack
• Winching kit
• Safety kit, including med kit and fire extinguisher
• Hitch or tow strap attachment (with tow strap)
• CB Radio (or a cell phone if you don’t have one)
Don’t forget your friends and a full cooler.