UTV Water Crossing: How to Stay Safe On Your Ride
We’ve covered many topics here on our blog, but what about UTV water crossing? Sure, it sounds like fun, but is it safe to cross over sections of water in your UTV? And if it is, what safety precautions should you follow? That’s what we’re talking about today.
Keep reading to learn all about crossing over water in your UTV.
Please Stay Safe
Before diving into UTV water crossing, we want to express how vital water safety is. If you’re not an experienced driver, we don’t recommend crossing any body of water in your UTV. While there’s always a risk of something going wrong, lack of experience can worsen a situation.
In any situation, if you’re having too much fun and skipping precautionary steps, you could risk injury or death. Water is an element that requires respect from anyone who encounters it.
What Is Water Crossing?
Water crossing involves taking a path or route where there is water that you must cross over to continue on your way. The water could make up a small pool, creek, stream, or river.
Prepare for a Water Crossing
It’s always a good idea to prepare for situations that could arise. So, even if you don’t anticipate encountering a water crossing, it’s still wise to plan for what you would do; the first step is to prepare your UTV.
Your UTV might be fine if you have a high clearance 4x4 stock vehicle and you know the area well enough to know you’ll be crossing over puddles or small streams.
But if your vehicle doesn’t have high clearance, or you don’t know the area well, you can prepare in the following ways:
- Install an extended breather kit.
- Move your differential breathers higher up the chassis.
- Keep your winch on hand.
- Protect electrical elements from the water.
- Keep your engine fan away from water.
Breather Kit and Differentials Placement
The breather kit and differentials placement will help prevent water from emulsifying the engine in your gas tank. Your winch will become a crucial tool if your engine dies in the middle of the water crossing.
However, your winch remote will become useless if it’s electronic and gets wet. For this reason, we recommend attaching a strap to it and keeping it above the water level.
Protect Electric Parts from Water
Electricity and water have proven to be a deadly combination too many times, which is why it’s so important to guard against them. You likely have electronic parts to your UTV, such as an ECU, alternator, or fuse box.
While it may be impossible to keep these parts entirely out of the water, you can still protect them with dielectric grease, which repels moisture and prevents corrosion when water makes contact with electric components.
You also have your engine-driven fan to protect. While this might not be the first part that comes to mind, it’s equally important. If water gets into the fan, it can shatter the fan. But what’s even worse is that it can spit water across the parts under your hood, rendering your UTV a total loss.
Assess the Water Before Your Cross
Water can be very deceptive. Even if the UTV water crossing seems shallow, never cross it without stepping out of your UTV and into the water. Does the water get deeper? If so, you should try and avoid crossing.
Shallow water with a rocky bottom is the safest kind of water crossing. There’s less of a chance of your UTV getting stuck.
We don’t recommend crossing muddy water that gets deeper the farther you go. This can prove to be dangerous, even life-threatening. You could ultimately sink beneath the surface of the water and get stuck in the bottom of the water crossing.
Also, if there is a current, you shouldn’t risk crossing, even if it’s tiny and doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. Water currents are powerful and can be very dangerous.
Driving Through The Water
What Not to Do
We can’t express this enough–don’t slam into the water. While revving your engine or slamming on the accelerator might be fun, it’s dangerous for a UTV water crossing. It can cause the following problems:
- Hydro-lock your motor.
- Shock cool your components.
- Force water into critical components.
Any of these can total your UTV, even if you’re standing in a shallow foot of water. Please don’t risk destroying your UTV for a water crossing!
What to Do
Once you’ve prepared your UTV for wet conditions and have tested the water on foot, it’s time to ease your UTV into the water crossing. But before you move forward, roll down all your windows and have everyone unfasten their seatbelts. Should something go wrong, taking this step can prove to be lifesaving.
Once everyone is ready, very slowly enter the water. Enter it as if you were quickly walking through it. This pace might seem astronomically slow, but it will accomplish the following:
- The bow wave will stay high.
- You will keep the water low in the engine compartment.
- Your UTV won’t flood.
You should always have your vehicle face upstream, only traveling slightly downstream if necessary. Keep your speed steady, and avoid shifting if your UTV is manual. Shifting a manual in the water can cause your UTV to stall.
Should your engine die while you’re in the water, evacuate the UTV and get to safety. You’ll need to have your UTV towed out of the water. Attempting to restart it with the engine underwater can destroy the UTV. There’s no guarantee that it will, but it’s not a risk worth taking.
TerraRider UTV Windshields & Accessories
UTV water crossing can be an exhilarating experience. If you’re preparing for an off-roading trip that involves water crossing, we hope you have fun while staying safe. If you need accessories or have questions about waterproofing your UTV, TerraRider UTV Windshields & Accessories can help.
While we’re based in Salt Lake City, Utah, we ship for free anywhere in the United States. We’re here to help you prep for your UTV water crossing, no matter where you are. Contact us today!