Remember: You are responsible for your own safety and for the safety of those around you.
Driving through the forest is a bit different than traveling down a six-lane freeway through a big city. Please keep the following in mind while driving through the woods:
PLAN YOUR TRIP
- Obtain travel maps of your destination; determine areas open to off-highway vehicles.
- Review site-specific regulations; contact the land manager for area restrictions, closures and permit requirements.
- Take recreation skills classes.
- Know how to operate your equipment safely.
Be prepared; communicate
- Make sure your vehicle is mechanically up to task.
- Check tire condition, antifreeze and motor oil levels, and the entire exhaust system for leaks; ensure that all hoses and belts are in good condition.
- Make a realistic plan and stick to it.
- Share your plans with someone;’ if plans change let them know.
- Don’t ride alone.
- Plan appropriately for food, gas, and lodging, which may not be readily available along Forest Service roads. Always carry extra food and water.
- Prepare for the unexpected: pack first aid kit, emergency items, tools, supplies, spares, and a spill kit for trailside repairs.
- Check the weather forecast; be prepared for sudden changes in weather.
- If traveling in winter considering the following:
- Check your state’s Department of Transportation website for information on road conditions, closures, and restrictions
- Follow the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration detailed winter tips.
- Check the forest or grassland website where you plan to go for any posted alerts.
- Pack extra layers of clothing, including rain gear, socks, gloves or mittens, and a warm hat.
- Bring a winter emergency kit, which should include a flashlight, map and compass, matches in a waterproof container, whistle, fire-starter, nylon cord, pocketknife, high-energy food, plastic tarp, space blanket, signal mirror, first aid kit, duct tape for repairs, and a metal container for melting snow.
ON YOUR TRIP
Drive safely; stay in control
- Watch for and obey posted speed limits; USDA Forest Service roads can be narrow and rocky; they are not meant for high speeds.
- Stay on authorized roads.
- Be careful braking on gravel roads; allow more time and distance when coming to a stop.
- Don’t turn around on narrow roads, steep terrain or unstable ground. Back up until you find a safe place to turn around
- Beware of rocks, boulders, road washouts, downed trees and brush on the roadway.
- Travel with a group of two or more vehicles. Driving solo can leave you vulnerable if you have an accident or breakdown. Designate meeting areas in case of separation.
- Don’t drink and drive; don’t use alcohol or drugs.
Respect nature: proceed with caution around horses or other pack animals
Respect others: property owners and other recreational train users