Trail Tips: Why Your Spouse Should Learn to Drive Off-Road

Oct. 23, 2012 By Tom Severin
Spending time with your significant other on the trail can create a new activity for the two of you to enjoy together.  

Four-wheeling is often viewed as a manís world. For the most part it is. Women are increasingly joining the sport, however. While some of these women are single, there others who are introduced to the hobby by a husband or friend.

In either case, itís always best for her to take an off-road driving course. And if you havenít taken a course, I encourage you to join her. It can be a fun and rewarding experience for you both.

Here are some good reasons to consider enrolling your better half in a 4WD training course

1.She Can Be a Back-Up Driver
If something happens to you, your wife could drive out. Chances are, the training course will teach her how to overcome most of the challenges sheíll face on trails. Even if youíre out cold, she should be able to drive you out or at least get you to an extraction point.

2. Building Confidence
Learning to drive off-road entails mastering new skills. It involves unusual terrain, special driving techniques, and different equipment, like standard transmissions. Experiencing all these while under the watchful guidance of a trained instructor builds confidence for real-world applications.

A lot more women have gotten into off-roading lately. If you spouse or girlfriend hasn't driven off-road yet, enrolling in a training class is a great way to learn the fundamentals and gain confidence.

3. Better All-Around Driver
Off-road skills are put to use in the city during bad weather, such as a snowstorm or heavy rain. In the aftermath of an earthquake or tornado, there could be sinkholes or debris in the roadway. Drivers need to negotiate around these obstacles. Thatís standard procedure in four-wheeling. Someone who has taken a 4WD course is better able to handle these difficult and stressful situations.

4. Additional Spotter
The best spotters are also good drivers. Having gone through a 4WD course, your wife will be able to read the trail as well as you, providing you a valuable second set of eyes.

Having another set of eyes on the trail is always an asset.

One Catch, Guys
If your wife starts to enjoy off-road driving, you may end up the spotter. But thatís OK, right? On the other hand, your wife may still just want to sit and enjoy the ride. Encourage her to get behind the wheel on occasion to keep her skills sharp.

Wait - One More Catch
You may end up buying another four-wheel drive vehicle just for her!

5. An Extra Driver to Spell You
Driving off-road, as you know, is very demanding. Fatigue can set in after just a few hours. Itís comforting to know that a skilled driver can take over if needed.

6. Companionship on the Trails
Fishing buddies are great, but you canít beat having your spouse along. You experience the adventure together, share great memories, and really bond while outdoors.

Getting your spouse or girlfriend more invovled in off-roading will make her appreciate it more, enjoy it more, and probably make her more willing to head out for some adventure.

One of my readers, Louise, sent me two additional suggestions. They are good, and I'd like to share them with you.

7. Valuable Team Member
When your spouse is able to drive a vehicle off-road by herself she becomes an important member of a team that may be assembled to aid another driver. Consider this situation: You and your wife are sharing driving. Another driver is solo, gets injured and is unable to drive his vehicle; he might even need to be removed from the scene for medical care. Because your travel companion knows how to drive off road, one of you can take charge of the injured personís vehicle while the other continues to drive your vehicle.

8. Keeper of the Extra Keys!
Regardless of who you are traveling with and whether or not they have learned how to drive off-road, you should each have a set of keys to the vehicle. While you lock the vehicle to keep all your stuff safe it also inconveniences your travel companion to access their belongings. They may need access to the vehicle at any time for a comfort item, to get out of the weather, extra clothing, water, food or medical/emergency supplies for you or someone else. With their own set of keys for the duration of the trip they can freely do this without the inconvenience of having to find you each time they want access. Consider this situation: You are away from the vehicle that you have locked. You slip, fall and become injured and need to be removed from the scene for medical treatment. With the one set of keys in your pocket, and you away for medical treatment, no one can access your vehicle to drive it for you or for your travel companion to access their own items.

You both now share a new common interest, which can open a world of possibilities. Sitting around the house one day wondering what to do? Go off-roading!

Four-wheel driving is more than just learning how to drive the trails. Itís also about enjoying the great outdoors with family. Enrolling your spouse in a 4WD training course builds her skills and confidence, and helps her better enjoy your outdoor adventures together. Sign her up today, and start planning your next off-road adventure.

Off-road trainer Tom Severin shares insight and tips on a variety of topics related to preparing you for that next off-road adventure. With over 40 years of off-road experience, Severin operates under his business Badlands Off-Road Adventures. He is a certified professional 4WD Trainer by the International 4-Wheel Drive Trainers Association and a Wilderness First Responder (WFR). He is a member of the California Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs (CA4WDC), United Four Wheel Drive Associations and the BlueRibbon Coalition. He also is a certified UFWDA and a CA4WDC 4WD instructor.

For more information about Badlands Off-Road Adventures, visit

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