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Everyone on the trail should learn to drive off-road. Unfortunately, Four wheeling is often viewed as a man’s world and for the most part it is.  However, women are increasingly joining our hobby. Some of these women are single and others are introduced to the hobby by a husband or friend.

In either case, it’s always best for her to take an off-road driving course. If you haven’t taken a course, I encourage you to join her. It can be a fun and rewarding experience for you both.


Here are some good reasons to consider enrolling your better half in a 4WD training course.

1.  She can be a back-up driver: If something happens to you, your wife could drive out. Chances are, the training course will teach her how to overcome most of the challenges she’ll face on trails. Even if you’re out cold, she should be able to drive you out or at least get you to an extraction point.

2.  Building confidence: Learning to drive off-road entails mastering new skills. It involves unusual terrain, special driving techniques, and different equipment, like standard transmissions. Experiencing all these while under the watchful guidance of a trained instructor builds confidence.

3.  Better all-around driver: Off-road skills are put to use in the city during bad weather, such as a snowstorm or heavy rain. In the aftermath of an earthquake or tornado, there could be sinkholes or debris in the roadway. Drivers need to negotiate around those obstacles. That’s standard procedure in four wheeling. Someone who has taken a 4WD course is better able to handle these difficult and stressful situations.

4.  Additional spotter: The best spotters are also good drivers. Having gone through a 4WD course, your wife will be able to read the trail as well as you, providing you a valuable second set of eyes.

One catch, guys: If your wife starts to enjoy off-road driving, you may end up the spotter. But that’s OK, right? On the other hand, your wife may still just want to sit and enjoy the ride. Encourage her to get behind the wheel on occasion to keep her skills sharp.

Wait – one more catch: You may end up buying another 4 wheel drive vehicle just for her!

5.  An extra driver to take over, when needed.  Driving off-road, as you know, is very demanding. Fatigue can set in after just a few hours. It’s a comforting to know that a skilled driver can take over if needed.

6.  Companionship on the trails: Fishing buddies are great, but you can’t beat having your spouse along. You experience the adventure together, share great memories, and really bond while outdoors.

drive off-road

One of our readers, Louise, sent me two additional suggestions. They are good, and I’d like to share them with you.

7.  Valuable Team Member: When your spouse is able to drive a vehicle off-road by herself she becomes an important member of a team that may be assembled to aid another driver. Consider this situation: You and your wife are sharing driving. Another driver is solo, gets injured and is unable to drive his vehicle; he might even need to be removed from the scene for medical care. Because your travel companion knows how to drive off-road, one of you can take charge of the injured person’s vehicle while the other continues to drive your vehicle

8.  Keeper of the Extra Keys! Regardless of who you are traveling with and whether or not they have learned how to drive off-road you should each have a set of keys to the vehicle. While you lock the vehicle to keep all your stuff safe it also inconveniences your travel companion to access their belongings. They may need access to the vehicle at any time for a comfort item, to get out of the weather, extra clothing, water, food or medical/emergency supplies for you or someone else. With their own set of keys for the duration of the trip they can freely do this without the inconvenience of having to find you each time they want access. Consider this situation: You are away from the vehicle which you have locked. You slip, fall and become injured and need to be removed from the scene for medical treatment. With the one set of keys in your pocket, and you away for medical treatment no one can access your vehicle to drive it for you or for your travel companion to access their own items.

You both now share a new common interest, which can open a world of possibilities for you. Sitting around the house one day wondering what to do? Go off-road!

Four wheel driving is more than just learning how to drive the trails. It’s also about enjoying the great outdoors with family. Enrolling your spouse in a 4WD training course builds her skills and confidence, and helps her better enjoy your outdoor adventures together. Have her sign up today , and start planning your next off-road adventure together.

Author: Tom Severin
Photos: Andy Palmer
Editor: Lori Palmer

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Tom Severin is an International 4-Wheel Drive Trainers Association© certified professional 4WD Trainer and a Wilderness First Responder (WFR). He is an instructor for the United Four Wheel Drive Associations (UFWDA) and the California Association of 4WD Clubs. Tom is the owner of Badlands Off-Road Adventures 4WD Training School in Southern CA that offers guided off-road adventures as well as 4WD training courses ranging from basic off roading to advanced rock crawling techniques.


  1. Great article! I fell victim to number 4, where I had to buy a second 4×4 for the wife. She got tired of riding co-pilot and switching back and forth. Now she loves hitting the trail and actually is pretty skilled at picking lines.

  2. Im an off road driver one of the best here in Las Vegas also one of the recovery team members to

  3. After being a passenger in our dune buggy for years, I decided I wanted to drive other than on the street. I am thoroughly enjoying the challenge! I helped put together an all ladies group within our club, working up from just getting them to drive on the pavement to light off road. Have created some awesome friendships and many ladies now own their own buggies. I strongly encourage and support your article and have shared it with the Manx Club. We’re not “jeepers” and we’re not 4 x 4 – but we get out on the trails and enjoy the adventures along the way!

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