TREAD LIGHTLY TREAD LIGHTLY
RESPONSIBLE OFF-ROAD
RESPONSIBLE 4X4? WHAT’S THIS ALL ABOUT?

Tread lightly – how it’s connected to off-road? Let’s try to decipher it.

T
Travel Responsibly

R
Respect the rights of others

E
Educate yourself

A
Avoid sensitive areas

D
Do your part

5 letters, 1 word and you know everything about watchful and responsible off-road. By obeying this few simple rules you will avoid expanding no drive zones outside of “boring cars” roads and the locals won’t chase you with pitchforks.

Here you have some guidance to understand Tread Lightly better.

T
Travel Responsibly

  • Travel responsibly through roads, tracks and some other allowed terrains. Remember that you can’t drive through forests (Polish law allows it only in places, in which there’s an exception signpost; this rule doesn’t apply to disabled persons moving in vehicles adjusted to their needs).
  • Don’t drive if you’re alcohol-influenced or under the influence of drugs. In such a state you lose your head and are unable to think straight. On top of that, you can harm yourself or someone else.
  • Use proper techniques of driving in the open terrain. First of all, practice your abilities.
  • It’s safer to drive with a pilot, who will check possibility for further driving on the track.
  • When crossing the stream, first check the depth and the bottom, then use the shortest way.
  • When crossing the hills, use the shortest way – that means straight up. Measure your own and your car possibilities in real terms.
  • When you’re in the muddy terrain and you can’t bypass it, don’t deepen the ruts more than it’s necessary.
  • Be careful when passing by the rocks. Remember where the vital parts of the car are located, by keeping caution you’ll avoid damages and leaks.
  • If you want to turn back, first check if you have enough space, don’t do this on a narrow road, slippery track or unstable ground. Turn back to the place where it will be safe.
  • Be careful when using the winch (check whether your car is well attached, use tape, watch out for the safety of others).

R
Respect the rights of others

Respect private property and all the rules. What’s more, respect tourists’ rights to have a rest in nature. Treat others the way you want to be treated.

  • Watch out for the tourists and animals on the track.
  • Remember to give priority to vehicles and people, bikers and riders climbing uphill (it’s tougher for them).
  • If you happen to meet wild or domesticated animals on the track, pull over, turn off the engine in sensible situations and wait until the animals will pass you by. Be careful and gentle, try not to startle them so they won’t harm themselves or anybody.
  • Leave the gates or the barrier in the state in which you have originally encountered them, eventually close them behind yourself if it’s straightforwardly stated on a sign adjacent to such an object.
  • When passing by farm buildings, throttle back, don’t bang around and don’t reek – these people live there permanently, and you’re only passing by.

E
Educate yourself

Try to do your best when preparing to the venture – get to know the track, check maps, ensure that you know obtaining rules and customs. Prepare and check your car and equipment.

  • Check if the roads you want to drive are drivable or if a permission is required.
  • Plan the route, so you’re be able to finish it. Always leave the information about your route (especially in the tough terrain, such as wetland territories and alpine routes).
  • Check the weather, because in some places you won’t be able to drive after heavy rain.
  • Get ready for every circumstances – take medical kit, blanket, water, supplies, torch, telephone, GPS and so on.
  • Fasten your seatbelts – it guarantees security for all your passengers.
  • Be conscious about your limits (time, fuel, strength and health).
  • Don’t stop learning and practicing different techniques of driving in the open terrain and ways of using 4x4 equipment in your car.
  • Know your car better in the matter of eventual DIY repairs which will enable you to return back home or repairshop.
  • Always take basic things to be able to repair your car and be conscious of the things you can fix on your own if you’re on the way.

A
Avoid sensitive areas

Avoid terrains, which you could irrecoverably change or destroy (wilderness areas, meadows, swamps, rivers, fields). Don’t drive off the beaten track,. If you’re forced to be as much careful as possible. If you happen to meet animals in the forest, get out of their way. If the animal changes its behaviour, it means you are to close to it.

Why do we get round environmentally sensitive areas?

  • Breeding areas.
  • Nesting and rutting areas.
  • Seasonally wetland areas.
  • Territorial roads after spring melts.
  • Crops.
  • Rare species protection.

D
Do your part

Do your part and impact others’ behavior. Leave your surroundings in a better condition than originally encountered. Take the rubbish with you, cut down the fire usage, avoid removing unknown species to the new places, try retrieve devastated environment as much as you can. You probably won’t fix the whole planet, but you can gradually and consistently step by step impact your surroundings.

  • Always take rubbish bags with you.
  • If you bring something to the trip take it back with you.
  • Cut down your impact on the environment, when you’re camping.
  • Don’t be loud. Being noisy is littering, too.
  • After the trip try to wash away mud or grass on you and your belongings, by doing so you’ll stop plants species from getting outside of their habitat.
  • Join the local society that is taking care of the environment, take part in initiatives to protect the environment or your surroundings.
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