Finding a Professional 4WD Training Instructor

"Make it Fun. Make it Safe."
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Finding a Professional 4WD Training Instructor


Post by toms » Thu Mar 20, 2008 9:39 pm

With the growth in off-road recreation there is an increasing demand for quality 4WD training.
There is a huge difference in driving a 4WD off-road and driving a passenger car on the street.
A great deal of skill is needed and many intuitive reactions need to be re-learned so they are immediately available to safely
navigate hills, ruts, mud, sand, snow, water and off camber situations.

Currently anyone can hold themselves out as a 4wd trainer.
How do you sort out the back yard want-a-bes from the professionals?
Your life might depend on the quality of the training you receive so it is worth investigating your potential 4WD trainers.
Knowing how to avoid a roll over might save your life and those of your family.
Receiving good instruction up front can save you hundreds of dollars by avoiding purchase of poor quality or
inappropriate equipment.


4WD clubs are a great way to share your enthusiasm with new friends, find new trails and provide an agenda to get you out
wheeling regularly.
But don’t be lulled into thinking that a friend or that a 4WD Club you joined will supply all the training you need.
Most clubs do not have training as a primary goal.
You learn by example, and trial and error as they drag you through obstacles way over your head.
And expect to get the displeasure of your trail mates a few times when you violate the rules of the road no one explained
until you screwed up. In 3 to 5 years you will have assimilated enough information to begin to make sense of the skills, preparation, environmental impact and vehicle dynamics, involved in this sport.

Perhaps you have the good fortune to have several 4WD Training Providers in your region, giving you the opportunity to
compare and choose.
To overcome the want-a-be who is looking for some pocket change from his weekend hobby or the person who is not fully
committed to their task, the first step is to look for a Trainer who is certified by the International 4-Wheel Trainers
Trainers who are members of I4WDTA are rigorously tested and must demonstrate a thorogh understanding of 4WD skills,
vehicle dynamics, repair, environmental ethics, navigation, first aid, teaching methods, and much more.
If the instructors at the school you are considering are not members of I4WDTA you need to probe into why they are not
certified and ask a lot of questions.
It should be easy to determine if they are I4WDTA certified. Most schools are proud of the hard work and commitment resulting
in certification and will advertise it in their brochures and on their web sites. Check out

The second issue is that while some trainers are certified, they are not fully committed. 4WD training is not their primary
occupation. You want a dedicated school with a regularly published 4WD training schedules. The school should have general
liability insurance and all required permits required by Federal, State and local land managers.
An I4WDTA certified instructor is required to have extensive First Aid training in an accredited 72 hour Wilderness First
Responder course.

And finally, select a 4WD school that has depth of course offerings that you can progress through.
Don’t be surprised if your first experience with a qualified trainer turns into a long term relationship with repeated
contacts. It’s like that with a good instructor!
See you on the Trail!

Badlands Off-Road

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