OK, we've all helped someone out of a bad situation; stuck, high centered, whatever. Could you imagine a vehicle in a spot so dangerous or precarious that you would not help drag it out? If so, what would that situation look like? What would you be willing to do?
I once tried to tow a full size Bronco out of a muddy ditch with my Grand Cherokee. Basic physics was not on my side and when the Bronco started to slide sideways downslope, it pulled the Jeep with it. I unhooked quickly and waited for something bigger to come along. Then the Bronco almost took a full size Chevy truck down with it.
Not everyone knows to air down. Everyone starts at the beginning, and not everyone knows to air down. Yes, they should have done their homework and come prepared, but everyone makes mistakes.
I won't help if:
- there's a risk of harm to people/animals/my vehicle
- there's a risk of harm to the vehicle being recovered, and the owner is not willing to take 100% full responsibility for it
- the vehicle owner gives off a bad vibe (drunk/stoned/aggressive/otherwise shady)
- I'm not at lest 95% sure I can recover the vehicle
from a time consideration perspective, I tend to think i'd go with the "aired-down" option. bulleted lists tend to eat up the whole day.
reminds me of Frank (?) of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers Fame*. he was walking down the street in his normally dazed condition when accosted by a robber.
"gimme all yer money" the crook said.
well, Frank, in his stoned stupor, started to mentally locate "...all yer money." okay, there's the sixteen dollars in my wallet, and another 83 cents in my left front pocket. and my emergency dime for phone calls (it was a simpler time) in the left shoe. oh; the twenty-seven dollars on my bureau at home, and the fiver Aunt Gail gave me for my birth . . .
Kool! ...Fabulous Furry Freak Bros.
(A blast from another (past) life...)
(all that follows happened, most more than once))
For vehicles stuck sideways on a (+30 deg.) hill; loan them a snatch strap so they can run it from a front tow point, around a substantial up hill tree, to a rear tow point the have them drive (their risk) until it is pointed up hill or down then unhook your strap and drive away... (before they can seriously mess up)... Proper, frame mounted, recovery points, front and rear are essential!
For vehicles with one side half off a cliff winch them side ways, using a tree and a snatch block, back onto the road/trail...(driving/pulling forward or back often can result in a lost/rolled vehicle)...
For vehicles with drivers too afraid to continue; jump in and drive it to a more or less level spot (the last one involved driving off a 3-4 foot ledge)..
For vehicles already shiny side down; flip them over and move them safely off the trail.... (the alternative being to drive over them; which might be fun/challenging but would not be cool).
For vehicle blocking the trail winch them side ways until you can get by.
For vehicles stuck on wide, steep, moguly hills drive around them through the worst part, without tire spin, and keep on going...
For vehicles stuck in water crossings I may hand them the end of the winch cable and then winch them out or pull their OEM or aftermarket bumper off... (proper, frame mounted, recovery points are essential!).
IMO vehicle stuck in deep mud are their owner's problem (essentially, pulled a pickup apart trying to get it out once); a Jeep is NOT a tow truck!
For vehicles that just spun out after passing you on ice; signal your appreciation of their driving skills with lights and horn and keep on truckin'....
Lack of intelligence, foresight, preparation or skill on someone else's part does not constitute an emergency on my part; or a need to risk anything at all, although, I may relent if there are children involved.
For me...the situation gets broken down into two categories.
1) Getting all the folks involved in the...stuck/deep water crossing/about to fall off a cliff/rolled over...rig out of harms way. If this means putting myself at risk, regardless of their condition...so be it.
2) Accessing the situation concerning the disabled rig...and deciding if the recovery was worth the risk of damaging/loosing another rig or injuring a person(s).
Once everyone is in a safe area and the recovery has been accessed and determined worthwhile, l like to worse-case-scenario the situation...and work backwards from there. As in...if things go bad, let's try to keep them to a minimum.
First, if possible, secure disabled vehicle with straps or chains to a solid object, preferably in the direction you will be pulling. Then lay out all of the rigging that will be needed to attempt a winching or tug operation. No sense getting your vehicle into position, then come to find out you don't have enough recovery gear. Once you've laid out enough recovery gear, position your vehicle in the best position possible. Secure your vehicle to another vehicle, and if possible have that rig a little down hill from yours...if no other vehicle is present...use a solid object (tree, boulder, etc). If no other objects are in reach...then you have to decide whether or not to continue. This is where "good-common-sense-judgement" comes into play. Rarely do people get hurt when this is applied to any recovery situation. Now, "poor -judgement"...gets folks hurt or worse yet...killed. If number one priority has been completed (folks safe), then number two is not important at all. That rig can sit in it's precarious situation until the cows come home...or until an appropriate alternative is reach for a safe recovery.