A couple of weeks ago it happened again. Another death during a recovery; this time up in the coastal Queensland town of Yeppoon.
While this a tragedy and all of us here at Unsealed 4X4 send out our heartfelt condolences to the young man’s family, friends and the first responders, it is yet another reminder that we as four-wheel drivers are still not taking recovery safety seriously.
And it’s high time this changes.
I refreshed my first aid certificate recently (a must-have if you travel solo or with the family), and the very first thing they teach you is to stop, take a breath and assess the situation. I think that same mentality has to be undertaken when affecting a recovery.
We’re all guilty of it. Someone gets bogged; you grab the snatch strap out, hook it up quickly and get them out as soon as possible. All too often we don’t stop and assess the risks… myself included.
Let’s say both vehicles are full. The kids jump out and roam around the recovery site. Your mate films it on his phone because he wants to be Insta-famous. Maybe someone else thinks it’s a good opportunity to put the jug on nearby and have a cuppa?
Before you know it there are multiple people, who may or may not be aware of the dangers, milling around the immediate area. But surely the danger is infinitesimal? Your mate is not even that bogged… You know where I’m going with this, right? It only takes one frayed or faulty strap or one dodgy recovery point for you to have a very bad day.
Of course we know that getting everyone well clear, ensuring our gear is in good condition before use and only using as much skinny pedal as is required is the right thing to do – but too many of us are still not putting the theory into practice. We cut corners under the ‘she’ll be right’ umbrella. But the funny thing is, if more of us put the right techniques and safety measures into practice, more of the up-and-coming generations of off-roaders will pay attention and learn.
School holidays are right around the corner. This multiplies the risk factor by a fair amount because, let’s face it, people in ‘holiday mode’ and kids who have been cooped up in the car for the last 600km are hard to differentiate between at times. There are more people on the tracks, and in all likelihood most of them will not be aware of basic recovery techniques (let alone the dangers involved).
By seeing ‘us’ doing things the correct way, they’ll pick it up pretty quickly though.
Yep, getting stuck is annoying. But don’t half-arse your recovery no matter how much of a rush you’re in. The poor bloke from Yeppoon is the very reason why this is so necessary.
If you’re not confident in being 100% safe, I strongly recommend you book in for a 4X4 recovery course. These are skills that will be with you for life – in more than one way.