A general set of guidelines when offroading alone or with friends:
Getting friends along:
The Friend must be well known to you.
The Member who introduces the Friend must accept complete responsibility for the Friend’s actions while on a trip/tour.
The Friend must participate equally in all activities when on tour including contribution to the common trip money pool (aka Kitty).
He has to listen to the organizers / spotters / marshals.
Make sure your friend knows the risk involved and make sure they do not stand next to the ropes during recovery process.
If you get pets along, it is your responsibility to make sure they do not run around and get injured.
While it’s fun to click action pictures, please note the following:
Do not stand in front of or behind the vehicle while clicking pictures. Stand atleast 2 meters away from the sides and 10 meters behind or in front of the vehicle. Always make a mental note of other vehicles around you.
During night OTRs, remember that the flash may temporarily blind the driver. So be very careful about this especially when the vehicle is negotiating a tricky and dangerous obstacle.
Do not hold up the convoy by making your passenger get off before attempting every obstacle, go ahead and click your snaps. This holds up the convoy. Make your passenger sit in the vehicle in front of you if you are very interested in getting action shots of your vehicle.
Do not stop in the middle of the convoy to pose for pictures.
Every vehicle must carry the following:
4 litres of water per person
Couple of packets of biscuits / wafers / etc. Especially if there is a diabetic person driving or accompanying you.
A couple of bars of chocolate as an emergency energy booster.
In summer, also carry packets of electral powder which you can mix with your water.
An icebox always helps
Adherence to Scheduled Timing/Departure from meeting point/campsites.
Late comers will have to catch up.
If you want to eat at the meeting point, please come early and order your food
While driving towards the trail
Driving etiquette must be strictly followed when on tour/trip.
All members must remain together (single file) when driving on highways/public roads and are advised not to stray too far without prior advise so that the stress of “losing” a member can be avoided.
If numbers are given, please follow them.
You are responsible for the car behind you. At all times keep a look in the mirror to see if the car behind you has stopped for some reason. If it has, pull over to check. Always try to signal the car in front of you by flashing your lights and have a predetermined sequence of blasting the horn (which will be a sign of distress).
Speed limits and road safety rules on highways must be obeyed.
Visual contact with other members must be maintained at all times when driving.
Stranded Cars on the Trail
No matter how late it gets, if any car is stranded or broken down on the trail, no one will leave until the car is repaired / towed out till the nearest garage.
Everyone must help in recovery (listen to the marshals / organizers)
Responsibilities as assigned in pre-trip meeting must be prepared for by each member who has been assigned a task.
Proper gear including apparel must be carried. Always carry an extra set of clothes.
OTR Trail / Campsite
Campsites must be left as clean or cleaner than the condition in which we arrived.* All garbage must be carefully packed in garbage bags and disposed of correctly even if it entails carrying back in a vehicle to a garbage dump in a nearby town/city.
All activities en-route/during & after a tour must be conducted in a manner that is NOT damaging to the environment and the natural surroundings. STRICTLY NO DONUTS.
Avoid loud blaring music while in jungle areas or near villages.
Respect the cultural, heritage and environmental values of public/private land by obeying restrictions that may apply.
Respect our flora and fauna. Stop and look, but never disturb.
Do not disturb livestock or watering points.
Do not honk unnecessarily.
Seek permission before driving on private land.
During tours, a member of the party will be assigned the task of managing the finances from the common trip money pool.* This common trip money pool (aka Kitty) will be decided by the team leader of the trip and collected (equally) from all participants at the first stop of the trip.* These funds will be used to pay for meals, hotel charges and other common incidentals.* At the end of the trip, any monies remaining will be reimbursed equally amongst the participants of the trip.
Refrain from using drugs or alcohol while driving
Refrain from aggressive driving
Not litter in public or private places
Assist members of law enforcement & the general public whenever possible or required
Guard against all risks of fire.
If you are told to park your vehicle at a place due to a technical problem with your vehicle or any other issue, please do so.
Do not keep attempting an obstacle. If you are told to abort it, then please stop, take an alternate route or get towed out.
Help your co participants.
This is not an ego trip. It takes more courage to say no than to cross an obstacle and be sorry later
If you have titanium balls, go join the army and fight for your country.
Do not egg a person on to do something he or she is not comfortable with.
When in doubt ASK and you shall be enlightened.
People do not like leachers. People will let you borrow stuff once or twice, but if you make it a habit, people will get pissed off.
Family and children accompany us many times, avoid using improper language and sexist jokes.
Always keep a list of your OTR friends' phone numbers at home and inform them where you are going and with whom. Tell them you may not have network at times and not to panic. If you get late, call up as soon as you can and inform home.
Skipping an Obstacle:
Be critical of your own abilities and equipment when assessing an obstruction; it is your right to abort an obstacle, but do not commit yourself to a bigger task than you are equipped for.
Newbies should NOT spot.
Passengers with no or little experience of spotting should NOT spot
Listen to appointed spotters or marshals
If you are spotting, make sure your words are accompanied by hand signals. Reconfirm that the driver has heard you.
Before spotting, discuss hand signals with the drivers
It is the duty of the vehicle driver to stop the vehicle, walk / see the obstacle. If you find there are too many people spotting then stop, get out of the car, tell everyone to shut up and you yourself appoint a spotter for yourself and only listen to him/her.
Read the spotting thread properly (link given above)
After Crossing an obstacle
After you finish an obstacle, DO NOT stop immediately ahead, the cars behind you need to cross as well. Please go well ahead and park in the designated spot. If there are no parking spots, keep continuing on the trail. If you are a designated spotter for the car behind you, make sure to park adequately ahead for the car behind you to cross the obstacle.
Parking your car on the trail
Make sure you switch your engine off. Always put the car in gear and use the handbrake.
If parked on an incline, make sure the car does not roll back / front. Always turn the wheels curbside and put a rock behind/front of one of the wheels. Remember to take out the rock before starting and move it to the side of the trail so as not to hinder other vehicles.
If you are parking on the trail and walking away, make sure your keys are in the ignition or with someone nearby so that your vehicle can be moved if need be.
Rules for newbies
Offroading is not a race.
Offroading is not an ego challenge.
If you are not comfortable with doing an obstacle, you have a right to refuse.
Always ask for an experienced guy to sit with you while crossing an obstacle. Don’t expect anyone to volunteer. ASK!
Only listen to one spotter.
Your car may be damaged while offroading. Be aware.
Walk the trail.
Do not attempt any obstacle if you do not see a spotter guiding you.
If you get stuck, it is YOUR responsibility to get off from your vehicle and attach the tow lines to yours and the recovery vehicle whenever possible.
If you are stuck, you have to use your recovery gear.
After you are recovered, help to stow back the gear
Listen to the spotters at all times. Rev when asked to and brake when told.
Observe safety protocols at all times. Use eye protection, gloves and cable dampers.
Get a roll bar installed first thing.
Always wear seat belts.
For tricky obstacles, please ask your passengers to disembark.
Always know where your dif is. Avoid damaging it.
Make sure your vehicle has a skid plate.
Know your vehicle's limitations
You do not need to cross it if you don't want to
Let your engine cool before you enter water
If your fan hits the water, it may break and damage the radiator
Electronics get spoilt with water
Do not make a dramatic splash when you enter water. Go in slowly. The dramatic splash will increase chances of water being sucked in by your airfilter
Snorkels and dif breathers doesn't mean your car can scuba dive
Things to carry:Tools- complete tool kit- jack- if you have new alloys, make sure your spanner fits properly into it.- spare hose pipes- spare fan belt- radiator sealant- swiss knife/multitool- torch- protective gloves / eye protection- spare fuses- recovery gear- spare wiper blades- WD40- mseal- spare number plates (ideally in sticker form). There are high chances of breaking the existing ones.- On-Tow stickers- make sure the spare wheel is upto the mark- For long distance trips, also carry oil (engine and dif)Medical- bandages- alcohol wipes- anti diarrhea medicine- anti malarial medicine (antacids too if you are suffering from acidity)- crepe bandage for sprains- balm- burnol- tourniquet- calamine lotion- pain killers (combiflam, etc)- antihistamines- any other medication you need (diabetics and asthmatics especially)- diabetics to also carry biscuits and sweets- spare spectaclesPersonal Protection- mosquito repellant- sunblock (water proof)- windsheater/raincoat- ankle length boots and/or gum boots- long stick to probe depth of water / slush and help in walking without slipping- sun glassesHygiene- Toilet paper- Soap- Soap strips- Brush and paste- Towels and napkins- Hand sanitizerCar documents- Registration- PUC- Insurance- Valid Indian driving license- Tax papersOthers- Trash Bags- Jerry can- Dry rags- everyone please take your tetanus shots before coming- Please avoid carrying credit cards. If required, just carry one card and note down the number somewhere. There are high chances of the wallet getting lost. Do not carry club membership cards, loyalty cards, etc. Do not carry all your money in your wallet. Spread it around in your pockets, bags, etc.- Do not carry alcohol in your vehicles. If you are stopped by the cops, the organizers will not be able to help you.-You will not get electric supply. Make sure you have a car charger for you mobile phones. I suggest buying the samsung marine phone which is completely waterproof. However, if you don't want to get one, please wrap you phone in multiple plastic bags.-I repeat again, people who need to take daily medications, please carry two sets wrapped in plastic waterproof pouches and kept at dif places. If one set gets lost or damaged due to water, you will still have another set.- Monsoon time is time for water borne diseases. I suggest you should get your shots for typhoid and hep A taken.- Carry chlorine drops; incase water runs out and you desperately need to drink water from a stream.- Extra socks. A wet sock is the worst thing. You'll be surprised how good a dry sock feels after a day of trudging through water.- Change of clothes- Avoid wearing contact lenses.- A sweat shirt or jacket; it can get cold at night.Please add to the list if i have forgotten anything.