Is It Safe To Take A New Vehicle Off-Roading?

August 29, 2022

Are New Vehicles Safe To Off-Road?

The off-road vehicle and overlanding community has been experiencing an all-time growth in "new to the sport" off-road adventurers, and auto manufacturers have been jumping into the action, which is great, but they're also creating a situation where the sport of off-roading might be more dangerous. How can that be? Well, the thing is that in recent years, auto manufacturers have been increasingly appealing to the off-road adventurers by creating new vehicles designed around the performance and off-road capabilities of these vehicles.

Of course, that's awesome, but it also raises the question: Since a lot of these new vehicle owners are people new to the overlanding and off-roading game, are auto manufacturers making it more dangerous for these people by marketing their vehicles as "right out of the box to the trails?" Or, are the technologically-advanced four-wheel drive traction systems making it simpler and safer for inexperienced drivers to go out and hit the trails? The answer to that question isn't easy to come by, but we did want to tell you all you need to know about these new vehicles and their off-road capabilities today. Let's jump right in.

2021 Ford Bronco Big Bend with Ultra Gauntlet wheels

Are New Off-Road Vehicles Safe For Beginners?

One thing we know for certain is that new off-road vehicles are built to be very safe, much, much safer than their older versions that came equipped with little more than a laptop belt. No airbags, no crumple zones, no internal safety cage structure, no traction control, you get the picture. So, with these new vehicles, if you do end up rolling your four-wheel drive vehicle off a 500-foot drop off the side of a mountain, chances are good or much greater than they used to be that you'll survive.

In lieu of some of these nationally-publicized off-road vehicle accidents involving brand-new, or at least relatively new, factory-built off-road-capable vehicles, we may just be on the fringe of starting to see a trend of inexperienced drivers jumping in the driver's seat of these new vehicles and hitting the trails for the first time, without any previous experience or off-road vehicle handling training.

Read More: What Are The Best First Tools For Off-Road Drivers?

Are Dealerships Taking The Proper Care In Educating Drivers About Off-Roading?

With that said, we believe that the majority of these first time four-by-four owners do receive the proper disclaimers that dealerships provide, or they at least seek out the proper training pertaining to how dangerous these brand new off-road-capable vehicles can be. Many sales reps will even take the time to instruct and teach their customers on how to properly use these simplified, yet highly-advanced four-wheel drive traction systems before they even leave the dealership.

Heck, Ford will even extend an invite to new drivers to firsthand learn how to use their new Broncos in a real world off-roading environment at one of their five "Bronco off-rodeos." Here, the instructors will first show you what trail control is and what the disconnecting sway bar does, and how it works. They'll explain the electronically-controlled differential lockers and how they work, and then you get to use them in different situations out in the trails - this way, should a customer accept the offer to attend, he or she (or they) will at least have some real world off-roading experience under their belt before they go out and hit the trails on their own.

Read More: What Are The Best Types of Off-Road Lighting?

2021 Jeep Wrangler with Fuel Contra wheels

Do Other OEMs Offer Off-Road Training Programs For New Drivers?

Ford has really done an exceptional job of at least offering the opportunity to get some real off-roading under your belt and learn how to use their vehicles' four-wheel drive traction systems properly before even going and hitting the trails. They have a training course called Raptor Cell Four, which is designed for Ford Raptor owners looking to enhance their driving skills.

Don't worry, Jeep owners - we didn't forget about you either. We actually questioned whether or not Ford took a few pages out of Jeep's Adventure Academy Training School book, which they offer for first-time Jeep owners. Jeep has been hosting this course for years and years, and they're truly the OGs of providing the opportunity to really get down and dirty with your new Jeep. The Jeep Adventure Academy isn't just for first time owners either - they offer their driving courses to any Jeep owner who wants to enhance their off-road driving skills.

Also, Land Rover has their own driving school called the Land Rover Off-Road Driving Experience, and there are probably a bunch more auto manufacturers that host or sponsor off-road courses out there. Even if it's not sponsored by a manufacturer, there are dozens (dozens!) of driving schools spanned across the country, so we'd definitely recommend attending one of them first before going out and hitting the trails with your newly-acquired off-roader.

Read More: Secrets To Know Before Off-Roading

2021 Toyota 4Runner with Hardrock Crusher wheels

What Are Your Alternatives If You Can't Afford Driving School?

Even if you didn't want to spend the coin on a driving school, you can still find a local off-road club or group to go out and spend time with first, before jumping into the driver's seat and hitting the trails for the first time. A quick Google or Facebook search for driving clubs in your area could open you up to making some new friends and learning some new off-road skills, both of which are great for helping build our fast-growing community.

Is It Safe For First-Time Off-Roaders Just Starting Out?

To answer the previous question, yes, of course auto manufacturers are marketing off-road-capable vehicles as being able to help drivers conquer the trails right after leaving the dealership - after all, that's how they sell more cars. But these manufacturers are also being smart and responsible about it by offering real-world driving courses that really give their customers a firsthand experience of how well their newly acquired four-wheel drive vehicle can handle a variety of unique off-roading situations, and handle off-road situations properly.

Shop Aftermarket Wheels, Tires, Suspension and Accessories for Off-Road Vehicles at TrailBuilt

With the explosion in popularity of off-road vehicles in recent years, we've gotten a huge inventory of aftermarket off-road wheels, tires, and suspension components that can help you keep safe, secure, and confident on the trails. Come check out our store page and grab the off-road components that work best for your build!

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