Roll, flop, dirt napÑ what­ever your fa­vorite term for a Jeep end­ing up

Jp Magazine - - Nena Knows Jeeps -

not on its wheels is, rolling over is one of the big­gest fears peo­ple have about four-wheel­ing. We can talk all day about good driv­ing tech­niques to avoid rolling in the first place, but no mat­ter how good you are, mis­takes hap­pen. It’s good to be pre­pared. Pro­tect­ing the oc­cu­pants is the num­ber-one pri­or­ity. Here are things you can do to help ev­ery­one walk away safely from a rollover.

Be­fore: As with most things, a lit­tle prepa­ra­tion goes a long way. Reg­u­larly check the se­cu­rity of your bat­tery tie-down. Keep spare tires, Hi-Lift jacks, off-road lights, and other ex­ter­nal ac­ces­sories tightly at­tached. Every time you get in­side the Jeep, ex­am­ine the con­tents of the pas­sen­ger com­part­ment, no mat­ter what level of trail or high­way you will be driv­ing. What is in­side that can be­come a fly­ing pro­jec­tile? Cer­tainly, any tools or heavy ob­jects should be se­cured, not just tossed un­der the seat. Wa­ter bot­tles, tablets, and ra­dios should be given a crit­i­cal eye. There are count­less sto­ries of tragedy where the ac­tual im­pact of the rollover didn’t in­jure any­one, but rather the things that flew around in­side the pas­sen­ger com­part­ment did. And it should go with­out say­ing that ev­ery­one must wear seat­belts. Al­ways.

Dur­ing: Get small. It is an un­for­tu­nately com­mon thing to see peo­ple stick their arms or legs out to try to “stop” the Jeep from rolling over. Don’t. Even if you are ex­traor­di­nar­ily strong and could ac­com­plish this, is it worth risk­ing in­jury? The best thing to do is com­pact your­self down­ward and to­ward the cen­ter of the ve­hi­cle. You also want to try to hold on

By Nena Bar­low jped­i­tor@jp­ Pho­tog­ra­phy: Nena Bar­low

to some­thing not near the ex­te­rior of the ve­hi­cle so your arms aren’t flail­ing around. Don’t reach for the roll­bar grab han­dles, but rather cross your arms and grip your seat­belt. When I am driv­ing, I hold on to the steer­ing wheel for two rea­sons. First, as a way to se­cure my hands, but with thumbs out of the wheel, of course. Sec­ond, be­cause I may be able to af­fect the mo­tion of the ve­hi­cle for the bet­ter if the front tires come back in con­tact with the ground. If you turn into the di­rec­tion of mo­tion and blip the throt­tle, you may be able to pull your­self out of it, or at least slow it down.

Af­ter: Once the ve­hi­cle has stopped mov­ing, the first thing you should do is turn off the ig­ni­tion. You want elec­tric­ity and fuel flow to stop as soon as pos­si­ble. Fur­ther­more, if you are up­side down with the en­gine run­ning, you risk blow­ing up the en­gine. Next, be­fore any­one jumps out, as­sess the area’s sit­u­a­tion and sta­bil­ity of the rig. If you are with a group of ve­hi­cles, it is usu­ally best for some­one else from out­side the rig to as­sess first and se­cure it, while the pas­sen­gers stay qui­etly seat­belted in the fallen rig. If you are on your own, you are go­ing to have to do your best to de­ter­mine from in­side the ve­hi­cle if it is safe to start to move around. Be­fore re­mov­ing seat­belts, re­mem­ber that grav­ity is pulling you in a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion than usual, and brace your­self ac­cord­ingly. As­sum­ing that the ve­hi­cle is not on fire and no one is se­ri­ously in­jured, take your time, move very care­fully, and pay at­ten­tion to any slight shifts in weight. Most peo­ple will be a lit­tle shaky from the adren­a­line of the event, so take ex­tra care that ev­ery­one ex­it­ing the rig is hold­ing on se­curely and pay­ing care­ful at­ten­tion to hand holds and foot holds. If you are climb­ing out of a rig on its side, be care­ful about us­ing a hot un­der­car­riage to climb down.

Af­ter ev­ery­one is safely out of the rig, re­cov­ery as­sess­ment can be­gin. Again, the pri­or­ity is de­ter­min­ing how ev­ery­one is go­ing to get home safely—hope­fully in your up­righted rig—with only a few scratches and a great story to tell!

1. Most peo­ple hope to never roll over, but look at this and think about what is go­ing to fly out, break off, and how you are go­ing to climb out of it. This looks nasty, but ev­ery­one walked away with­out a bruise in sight. And with the ve­hi­cle rest­ing on three points (hood, wind­shield, and C-pil­lar) it was fairly se­cure, in spite of its pre­car­i­ous ap­pear­ance. 2. If you have to roll a rig, make it a Toy­ota! The sole pur­pose in life for Candy, my 1990 Toy­ota 4Run­ner, is to per­form rollovers and flops for the pur­pose of demon­stra­tions for prepa­ra­tion and re­cov­ery train­ing. She is equipped with an exo-cage, five-point har­ness, bat­tery cut­off, and heavy-duty tie-down, and re­ceives full in­spec­tions for leaks, crimped wires, and sharp edges af­ter every “job.” 3. Check that your bat­tery tie-down is se­cure and doesn’t al­low your bat­tery to bounce around at all. This is Candy’s cus­tom-made tie-down. 4. Se­cure your load. A non-stretchy cargo net, a few ratchet straps, or a full lock­ing drawer sys­tem—all would solve the is­sue of these things be­com­ing haz­ardous in a rollover. Tools and small items are much eas­ier to se­cure when they are in a bag that can be tied down. 5. This is not the thing to grab for when you are in a rollover. You do not want your hands any­where near the roof, wind­shield, or doors if you can help it. These are for climb­ing in and out of the Jeep, and a ca­sual rest­ing place for your hand only—not a safe place to have your hand when the roof and door top take a hit.


6. When I roll (I do this reg­u­larly—for­tu­nately, on pur­pose), I hold on to the steer­ing wheel, mak­ing sure to keep thumbs out in case the wheel whips around. 7. Though you should have your stuff se­cured enough to not be­come a haz­ard, some stuff will likely still spill. A spill kit and trash bags should be part of your reg­u­lar gear any­way, but make sure to clean up any and all de­bris. 8. Where can you put your hands and feet that will be se­cure enough (and not too hot) for you to be able to climb down? 9. For the rollovers we have been around, most of the time we just put the Jeep back on its wheels, let the flu­ids set­tle, clean it up, and drive it out. Re­mem­ber that Jeeps are re­place­able—lives aren’t. Like this one, most rollovers are pri­mar­ily cos­metic and can be re­built. The driver, who had sig­nif­i­cant rac­ing (and crash­ing) ex­pe­ri­ence, rolled all the way over, landed on his tires, made sure ev­ery­one was okay, and kept go­ing.10. Here is that lit­tle sil­ver two-door af­ter re­con­struc­tive surgery. Not bad for a “sal­vage” Jeep, huh? 11. Good driv­ers make mis­takes on easy stuff too. Keep arms and legs in, hold on, and get small.11





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