The “why” behind the GCLC Safety Checklist
I’m sitting here in my hotel room on my one day off and decided to poke around a bit on the GCLC website. I was looking at our safety checklist that so many have complained about over the years and thought I’d take it apart for you. Almost every item on this list has been added over the last 17 years out of necessity. Apparently common sense is very uncommon.
Working GMRS and/or FRS radio
That’s pretty self-explanatory and is a strict requirement. It is not fun to be left behind on a trail ride for any reason and not have the ability to communicate to others. I have been there myself and I won’t let it happen again. On a side note, we stress “working” because someone had a mounted radio that was inoperable. We now actually have you turn them on and broadcast. You’re welcome.
First aid kit (well stocked)
You should have a first aid kit in every vehicle you own. That’s just common sense and another strict requirement. We added “well stocked” because 2 band aids and Imodium-AD just won’t cut it. You know who you are.
Fully charged fire extinguisher
This one has caused more grief for our inspectors and attendees than any other item. I have seen electrical fires start on the trail and I have seen them put out quickly and easily. I don’t understand the reluctance. And please don’t show me another extinguisher with the gauge on “EMPTY”.
Secure battery hold-down (no bungee cords, belts, rope)
For those of us with modern vehicles this is a non-issue. However, I have seen the bungee, belt, and rope options used, and it often requires the use of your “fully charged fire extinguisher”. Don’t be a knucklehead.
Vehicle must not have any excessive fluid leaks
Yes. When we’re inspecting your truck and fuel is pouring out onto the ground, don’t expect a passing grade.
Exhaust system must be intact, no open exhaust, excessive noise or excessive smoke
We’re going into the woods where there may be some “woodsy” things, like dry leaves. Take a moment and think about that.
Recovery straps: Capable of pulling your vehicle weight (no metal hooks)
This is a no-brainer. Buy your own straps and recovery gear. Inspect it yearly and replace as needed.
Tow points (front and rear) capable of pulling your vehicle weight
This has never been an issue on any vehicle I’ve seen, but you need to inspect them yearly.
Working headlights, tail lights, brake lights
Is that really too much to ask?
Current vehicle registration and liability insurance (if required)
Please note the “if required”. If you run a trailer queen, then it’s not an issue.
Jack – Hi-lift type recommended
Sooner or later, you’ll need one. Trust me.
Fuel filler cap
This is one of my personal favorites. If you show up to a trail ride with a rag stuffed into your fuel filler neck, I am going to laugh and point you towards the door. Or if I’m hungry, I might decide to light it. Who knows?
Working seat belts for driver and all passengers
Again, not a lot to ask.
Brakes: Must be able to stop and hold vehicle
This is generally a good thing for brakes to do.
Parking brake: Must be able to hold vehicle in place
That is why they call it a parking brake. Make sure yours is working properly.
Tires: Must have at least 2/32” of tread
Yea, good luck with those bald street tires.
Roll Bar: For all open top vehicles
Are you really going to make me say it?
All gear must be securely strapped down inside your vehicle at all times.
If I peek into the back of your truck and see folding chairs, pieces of lumber, coolers, etc that are thrown into the cargo area without strapping a single item down, then watch you cram a family of 6 into the truck, you’re going to get an earful from me…again.
At this point I think you get the idea that what we’re asking for is nothing more than a safe fun time in the woods with good people. What we do is inherently dangerous and sometimes bad things happen. You need to be at least marginally prepared.