Just like any other sport or hobby, off road driving too has it's own etiquette's. Often times these are not spoken out loud or mentioned in public to not to embarrass anyone.
If you like to continue off road driving, you should know these basic offroad driving etiquette's and follow them.
Pay 100% undivided attention to the instructions: Whether it's in briefing or on radio communication while recovering, give your 100% attention and if you cannot due to some incoming call or passenger distraction, ask them to repeat. Most of the instructions are given so that you can drive safely. If you still live in the mobile world or loud music or radio volume turned down, you will miss out on critical safety instruction that can end up breaking your 4x4 or bones, seriously.
Follow the instruction PRECISELY: From as simple as deflate to 12-14 PSI, drive in HI gear, engage to LO as soon as you get stuck. These instructions have been given to YOU for YOUR safety and enhancing your offroad driving experience. If you deflate to 22 PSI instead of 12, you will have endless refusals, stucks and A/T Transmission & Engine will soon overheat. If you don't engage on LO as soon as you get stuck, you will lose the most critical surface area in which LO gear could have saved the day, rather than toiling in HI gear for first few minutes and making the stuck even more worst for your car.
Acknowledge the message: Always acknowledge the radio messages as the reliability of radio communication is highly questionable.
Step out and help: When you are stuck and someone is helping you, it's a BASIC MANNER to step out of your car and help the Marshal or senior member who is helping you. You can help them clearing the sand, fixing the rope or inspect the stuck or plan of recovery. Sitting inside a stuck vehicle and waiting is the worst and most offending thing to do. If someone is helping you to check tire pressure, then step out and observe, how to delate to precise PSI.
Disclaimer: In some 1% tricky angles or situation, if you have a doubt or difficulty to come out, ask the Marshal or senior member: If its safe for you to step out? Please don't assume and sit inside.
Observe and learn: Every stuck and recovery has a lot to teach. Observe and learn from your stucks and discuss with Marshals how to not to get stuck again in a similar way. If you don't observe and learn you will end up doing the same mistakes over and over again.
Learn Vs Serve: All the knowledge and experience are there to help you learn offroading and not just to serve you. So that as soon as you learn, you start practising it and become more capable offroader and be able to help others in the future.
Yesterday @desertdude mentioned “Bu Jasim’s” in the “What Went Wrong” thread and I didn’t know what he meant. I was told that it was a reference to a 4x4 model, like Bu Shanab and Fatma Jumaa.
Who knows other local or international nicknames for specific 4x4 or cars models ?
Having a refusal or getting completely stuck is something nobody should feel guilty about, since it's part of the off-roading game. It’s also an essential experience in your learning. Somehow, as long as you can understand what happened so you won’t repeat the same mistake over and over, it’s a must to improve.
There are hundreds of reasons why you can get stuck. Some of them don’t directly depend on the driver (it can be related to an engine issue, the terrain, the climate, etc.), while others are just mistakes. Some of them are clear and obvious, others are more unpredictable and difficult to identify…
As a big fan of @Rahimdad’s What Went Wrong ? thread, it came to my mind that we could simply adapt his brilliant idea by analyzing, not accidents, but stucks, and try to make together a list of all the possible reasons behind them.
Please do share here your guesses, explanations... and videos.
I’ll start easy, with one of my best stucks this year, which happened in Area 53 two weeks ago (I borrowed the footage from @Javier M).
So... who can tell us why I got stuck here ?
I never mentioned sedans- I said "rent a suitable vehicle", which is invariably a diesel truck.
Sure, you can do a road trip in Africa with an SUV- provided you don't venture too far (50 -100 km) from major centres. The roads around most major cities are generally in reasonable condition, but anything beyond about 100 km or so from a major city (and considerably less in some cases) becomes an overland expedition to the next major city.
If you don't want to do cities, any distance between two points in Africa is an overland expedition, and especially so in central Africa, where nobody has been able to build permanent roads- or railways for that matter. However, large sections of the Trans-African Highway system (the parts of it that run around the edges of the continent, at least) have been paved and/or upgraded during the past ten years or so, but there are no guarantees that any part of the Trans-African Highway system will remain paved from one year to the next.
If you ever end up in washed out section of the road system in the dry season, when big trucks have reduced it to series of deep trenches that can be deeper than a meter, and run for tens of kilometers, you will find that the limited suspension articulation of an SUV- any SUV- will leave you crested on these trench tops every few meters. Then again,if you ever end up in a washed out section of the road system in the wet season, you need to be in a group of at least four trucks to get through meter-deep mud traps that can run for tens of kilometers. If you can get past the dozens of big trucks that have been bogged down for months in a track that is barely wide enough to allow two ox-carts to pass each other, that is.
In fact, a few years ago I had to abandon one of my expedition grade vehicles in such a mud trap because there was no way to get it out of the mud from behind an 18- wheeler that had sunk into the mud up to the top of it's wheels, and from in front of another 18-wheeler that had followed me into the mud trap before the other vehicles in my expedition could follow me in. For all I know, both trucks and my vehicle are still stuck there.
So, no, SUV's without proper 4-wheel drive, low range, winches, lockable diffs, rated recovery points, and at least 28 inches of suspension articulation in Africa are not good idea if you venture away from the big centers.