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4WD Safety Tips from a Driving School Expert

4WD Safety Tips

Tip Courtesy of Nationwide

Because so many Buckmasters members own four-wheel drive vehicles, these tips from a driving school instructor could teach hunters a thing or two about 4WD safety on the main road.

"The byproduct of seeing nature off-road is that you gain respect for it," says Bruce Elfstrom, the CEO of Overland Experts, a Connecticut-based off-road driving school. "But it's not always rough and tumble (off-road) conditions."

4WD vehicles generally perform better then 2WD in bad weather conditions, such as rain, snow and ice. But don't let the added grip make you overconfident. Instead, Elfstrom offers the following guidance for safe 4WD handling:

Stay in the no-spin zone.

While traction is generally much better with 4WD, you still need to be sure to maintain it while being careful about spinning. "The grip needs to remain spread to all wheels, if possible," Elfstrom says. "To accomplish this, go soft on the throttle and give power gently. It's like walking on ice."

Maintain personal space.

Here's a disadvantage of 4WD vehicles: They weigh more than two-wheel-drive vehicles, and thus are slower to stop. Allow ample distance between your car and the vehicle in front of you. "Aggressive drivers end up in accidents long before drivers with forethought and finesse," Elfstrom says.

Give your vehicle some room.

Don't tailgate. If you can read the license plate in front of you at anything faster than 45 mph, you're too close. Keeping distance between your 4WD vehicle and the vehicles ahead enables you to avoid slamming on the brakes. With 4WD, the brakes will lock up in this situation for just a second, even if you have an anti-lock braking system, and you could lose any grip that you had. "This means your vehicle becomes a sled," Elfstrom says. "It's out of control. Instead of slamming, brake softly over a long distance before turning a corner. Always assume you're about to lose traction."

Be forward-thinking.

Focus on the vehicles ahead of you to anticipate and avoid collisions, especially if you require more time and distance to stop. "A driver has to drive for others around them," Elfstrom says. "Not everyone has the same reaction time as you, or can see as well as you, or has the same pulling power as you."

Hunters who drive four-wheel drive vehicles for everyday use, not just in the woods, will be safer if they consider all of the above.


Dry Pull Your Bowstring
When I get to my stand, I do a dry pull of my bowstring. This means I attach my release and draw my bow then let it back down quietly. This simple measure helps take the popping noises out of a cold string and bow limbs before an animal arrives.
 

Wild Turkey Drumstick BBQ
Many of my fellow white-tailed deer hunters also love to hunt wild turkey. Here's the best turkey hunter's tip I can offer them, and one that too few hunters are aware of.
 

Don't Skimp On The Big Three
There are areas of hunting where I'll settle for less, but not so with my archery gear - especially the big three: my bow, arrows and broadheads.
 

Relocate Lost Turkey Calls
Have you ever sat down to call a turkey and somehow managed to get up, move and forget you left one of your prized box calls or slates still sitting on the ground? In the heat of the moment, it's easy to lose a call, especially strikers, if you do...
 

Cloth Bow Case Carrier
If you've ever walked to your stand on a cold morning while wearing a coat, you're fully aware of how much you can sweat. This happens even when temperatures are well below freezing.
 

Treestand Maintenance Tips
If you're like most hunters, the reality is beginning to set in that deer season has ended until fall. The good news is you now have months to tweak last year's stand sights and strategize for the upcoming season. Millennium encourages you to put ...
 

Make a List, Check It Twice!
It never fails. You settle into your stand and suddenly realize there's something important you forgot. We hunters use so much gear, it's easy to accidentally leave items miles away at home.
 

Bowhunter's Extreme Cold Tip
For those of us bowhunters who stick through late season, especially in the north like my home state of Wisconsin, extreme cold weather can be an issue.
 

Chlorophyll Capsule Odor Eliminator
About three weeks before each bow season begins, I stop by my local supplement store and pick up a bottle of chlorophyll capsules.
 

My Five Steps to a Big Buck!
1. Locate several areas with good deer sign in spring and summer months, and especially just after hunting season ends, but don't hang a stand yet.
 
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