If you go four-wheel-driving then you will need to perform a vehicle recovery. If you’re careful and cautious and drive within your vehicle’s capabilities it might not happen often, but it will happen.

When it does, hopefully you’ve not only bought some quality recovery gear but you’ve remembered to pack it. It sounds obvious but it can happen — one bloke went on a spontaneous solo sand-driving trip with a pregnant wife and no shovel or air jack. Apparently it takes quite a while to dig sand away from your tyres with a lunch box — and it feels even longer when you’re hoping the excitement doesn’t induce premature labour in the unimpressed mum-to-be.

You also need to know what technique and what gear to apply to what situation — what will get you out fastest, safely and with minimal damage to your vehicle and the environment?

If you’re solo, you’ll need to focus on self-recovery and the gear able to get you out of trouble without another vehicle’s help.

Experience can be a painful teacher — the best recommendation is to join a club and travel in a group as you’ll learn off the road. Otherwise, attend a course focusing on recovery — you’ll get an intro to recovery in most basic recreational off-road courses such as common snatch-strap recovery for sand, tow recovery and some basic winching tips.

Importantly, you’ll cover the critical safety requirements, as nothing can be more dangerous than a winch line letting go under extreme load. It could slice through a human body faster than you can blink.

You need to understand what a rated recovery point is and why you can’t just use any convenient bit of your fourby as a connection.

You need to know how to dampen the force of a whipping strap if it breaks and how to connect multiple straps for greater distance or double lines for greater pulling power.

An advanced recovery course will cover more hand and electric winching such as up or down steep inclines or using a hi-lift jack as a hand winch, plus what’s the best approach for mud, sand or slippery inclines.

To check your understanding of the basics, check out these training providers: Entire 4WD TrainingEureka 4WD Training or Global Gypsies.

© The West Australian

More Motoring news and information: westwheels.caradvice.com.au