Why off-road vehicles need to be used right

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A good experience requires a great off-road vehicle and a know-how on how to effectively maximize on man’s greatest inventions.

When planning for an adventure to a purely natural area where the tarmac is too fancy, we always choose vehicles that can actually withstand rough terrain, occasional muddy areas, steep valleys, sometimes mini hills and slippery slopes. When I see cars that are always on well-paved tarmac roads every single day with no sign of being in the field or even heading to rough terrain, I am only left wondering whether the owners know what that vehicle can do. I will be not surprised when a vehicle does not even get to fully experience all the ground clearance, approach and departure angles, gear levels, grip, low-end grunt/torque, and traction capabilities in a year, let alone in its lifetime. I believe, a purely off-road vehicle is wasting time stuck in the never-ending Nairobi city traffic and even misusing fuel which could have served better tracing the wild landscapes of Africa.

When the creators, innovators and engineers of off-road vehicles were in the design phase, they were not entirely concerned whether it will hack traffic and smoothly paved tarmacked roads. They were only concerned whether boulder rocks will be a problem. Even today, newer models of off-road vehicles are made with the thought of taking a vehicle where it has never been before. Whether crossing a shallow river will be a problem or whether the rainy weather will provide a challenge.

What is more interesting is how some drivers of off-road vehicles avoid potholes and bumps in the city when the car is made with shock absorbers that are actually meant to withstand boulders, shallow depressions and steep hill climbs. What is the point of buying an off-road vehicle when it will never leave the city? All it does is continue to pollute the environment every day as it is stuck in traffic or wasting away in the parking area.

Yes, some field worthy vehicles are more superior than others. Some can be able to move across rough terrain faster than another can while others do not easily get stuck in mud while others would. But then again, it is also the driver’s skills and knowledge plus added experience that will actually identify how a vehicle fairs while in rough terrain. A point to always note is not all field worthy vehicles are the same but all field worthy vehicles can hack bumps, potholes and rainy weather on tarmac roads.

As we buy and appreciate cars, we should consider how and where we use them. Cities should be meant for public transport, bicycles and if you can walk to your destination. There is no need to use a heavy, fuel reliant vehicle on the tarmac. Off-road vehicles are meant to spend most of their mileage in rough terrain. Even though we can choose between diesel, petrol or hybrid engine we should consider our impact on the environment always.

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Vicki Wangui
Vicki Wangui
Vicki Wangui is a believer in all things beautiful. A believer in spreading information in regards to environmental awareness. A believer in sharing all that is good in Kenya's natural world. A believer in speaking truth with no boundaries. Do you have a story, photo, experience or message you need to share? Send your work to vicki@nyikasilika.org or vickiwangui26@gmail.com.

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