Off-Roading at Night: What You Need to Know
If you’re getting tired of driving down the same trails over and over, consider tackling them at night. Off-roading at night provides skilled off-roaders with a unique chance to see their favorite trails in a whole new light. You might be surprised at how trails that you’ve run many times can look completely different based on the time you go off-roading there. That being said, off-roading at night does have several challenges that are important to be aware of before you embark on your after-dark journey, such as limited visibility and decreased depth perception. Here is what you need to know when off-roading at night in order to have a safe and enjoyable experience.
Invest in a quality lighting setup for your Jeep
When off-roading at night, your vehicle’s stock headlights probably aren’t powerful enough to provide you with the ample lighting you require. As such, you should at least upgrade your factory headlights to aftermarket LEDs. Aftermarket LEDs offer nearly twice as much light output and greatly increase visibility despite having a significantly smaller amp draw.
In addition to your headlights, you should also take the time to enhance other aspects of your Jeep’s lighting setup if you’re planning on off-roading at night. The exact lighting set up that you choose for your vehicle will depend largely on personal preference. Examples of beneficial lighting enhancements for your Jeep Wrangler that are helpful when off-roading at night include floodlights, an LED light bar, reverse lights, roof lights, grill lights, side lighting, and fender mount lights.
Don’t forget personal lighting
In addition to outfitting your vehicle with a quality lighting setup, you should also make sure to bring plenty of personal lighting on a nighttime off-roading trip. For example, a quality headlamp is one of the most important types of lighting you can bring when off-roading at night. If you ever need to repair part of your vehicle or help someone else out, you may require both hands. Rather than struggling to prop a flashlight up, a headlamp will provide you with the easy hands-free lighting you need.
Glow sticks are another important type of lighting to bring while off-roading at night. While they may not provide a ton of light, they are very useful for marking obstacles so that you can tackle them more easily in the dark.
Drive slower than you would during the day
When driving at night, you shouldn’t go as fast as you would during the daytime. Due to the lack of visibility, your depth perception won’t be as good at night, which can make it harder to keep track of the road and navigate obstacles safely. Even with powerful headlights and good side lighting, shadows on the road can hide large ruts or holes which increase one’s chances of getting stuck. As such, it’s important to slow down, especially around large obstacles and corners.
Bring a buddy
One of the most important safety tips that you need to know when it comes to off-roading at night is to bring a buddy in a separate vehicle. If you end up getting stuck or have a breakdown, there isn’t much of a chance that you’ll find a good samaritan passing by in the wee hours of the night to help you out. By bringing a buddy, you’ll have someone that can tow your vehicle out or drive you back home so you don’t get stranded. Bringing a friend is especially important in case you get hurt. If you are unable to move or lose consciousness, your buddy can go get help or drive you to a hospital.
To ensure that your buddy is actually able to help you and that you are able to help them, you should always check to make sure that both vehicles are capable. If either one of your vehicles is in bad shape mechanically, you might both end up getting stranded, which doesn’t do any good for anyone.
Let someone know where you’re going
Telling someone where you’re going is recommended whenever you venture out into the wilderness, but it’s especially important at night. If you get stuck, your vehicle breaks down, or you get into an accident, there isn’t always going to be cell service so you can call for help.
In such cases, it’s essential to tell someone where you are and how long you’re going to be gone. Then, ask them to check in with you by the time you expect to be back. That way, if you don’t return at the expected time, they will know something is wrong and send help to the area you said you would be off-roading at. You never know, shooting your buddy a quick message before you leave might just end up saving your life.
Study the trails before you go
During the night, vision is limited, making it difficult to see challenging obstacles until they are right in front of you. To avoid getting yourself into a sticky situation that you won’t be able to get out of, make sure to study the trails you plan to go on ahead of time.
Studying the trails ahead of time will also help you avoid getting lost. If you take a wrong turn or lose track of the road, finding your way out of the woods or other remote areas when it is pitch dark outside is a lot harder than during the day. As such, you should make sure to take the extra time to familiarize yourself with the trail system and make sure to bring a map with you.
If you’re an avid off-roader, then you know that nothing is quite like feeling the wind rush past you as you tackle the trails. However, taking a hardtop off your Jeep can be a tedious process that may prevent you from going topless as much as you would like. To make the process of removing your hardtop a breeze—like the one you’ll be feeling out on the trail—invest in a Top Lift Pro removal system. Unlike any other hardtop removal device, The Top Lift Pro system allows you to remove your hardtop in two minutes or less without any help. To learn more about our Jeep Wrangler hardtop removal tool, contact us today.