A Few Thoughts By Ray Barth
While I was out at Shiloh
last weekend, I began thinking about something that is highly over looked
on a regular basis. That is
spotting. Most people do not take the time to think about what it takes
to be a spotter and what it takes to have a spotter. What I'm going to do is list a few points that should be
considered by a wood-be spotter, a driver, and a spectator.
be afraid to turn someone down. Even
though a driver has the final say so, don't ever feel obligated to be a spotter.
If your not comfortable spotting for someone, DON'T.
You'll only put yourself and the driver in danger.
hand signals. This is a big problem
with spotters. They always want to
talk to the driver. However, under
most circumstances, the driver cannot hear clearly.
Put yourself into a position that gives yourself a good over sight of the
obstacle, is safe, and that the driver can see your hands.
If you do feel compelled to speak to the driver, walk up to him/her.
If you cannot do that and you feel the need to direct them to the right
or left, always remember to guide them from the driverís perspective.
Hence, if you want them to go right, tell them to go according to the
driver's right. An easy way to
remember, if you get confused (and everyone does), the driver sits on the left
side of the vehicle. Use hand
signals that are easy to understand. Typically, one hand will do the job.
the driver informed. When your
spotting, let the driver know how far they are to a drop or rock.
Use hand signals that will give a driver a good understanding.
For instance, use two hands to describe the distance. As long as
momentum is not a factor, walk up to the driver and explain what it is they are
going to do or have done. Remember,
the driver can't see what you can.
for assistance by your peers or someone you trust. A spotter can only be in one place at a time.
If you know and trust someone behind the vehicle that you are in front
of, communicate with them. Ask them
what you can't see and if there are hazards.
Know when to call for a strap. Not
everyone will conquer an obstacle under there own power.
If you feel that the driver is in need of a strap to avoid damage, by all
means suggest it. If the driver
decides against it, then it's in there hands.
Again, use good judgment.
safety, safety!!!!! I could go on
for hours on this. Use good
judgment. If you don't feel
comfortable, see #1.
asked not to spot, or if someone else is asked to spot by the driver, respect
the driver and get out of the way. Don't
take it as an insult. The driver
always has the last word. You would
want the same if you were behind the wheel.
Never be afraid to turn someone down.
Sound familiar? It should! The
bottom line is your the driver, your responsible for what happens to your rig.
If you don't trust a spotter in front of you (or behind), then tell
them!!!! Use a little tact, but in
the end, use a spotter you trust.
your spotter. Like I've said
earlier, your spotter can see things that you can't.
You may feel like that rig is about to tumble over, but from the outside
the perspective is quite different. They
will know your limitations.
to your spotter. If you don't feel
informed, call your spotter to you. Find
out what it is your going to be doing, if your not comfortable, back off!
your limitations. No matter how
much razzing you receive, it's not worth the damage you may inflict on your rig,
yourself, or your buddies. If you
know you can't do something, DON'T.
instructed to turn, do so. Don't
turn the wheel, and then straighten out. Do
EXACTLY as the spotter instructs. Nothing
the person you ask to spot refuses, ask someone else. Don't ever pressure someone into spotting you.
7. Try to use the same spotter(s). The more you stay with one or two spotters, the better. The spotter(s) will become familiar with your rig and your style of driving. Likewise, you will become familiar with your spotter(s). This all goes towards building a strong trust and creating a team that will work together. If you make modifications to your rig, and your spotter is not aware, inform them so they can expect the differences.
ONE SPOTTER AT A TIME!!!!!!! If you
feel the need to give your opinion, do so to the spotter.
Do not instruct the driver!!!! Walk
up to the spotter and show them what it is you feel so compelled to express.
You may or may not be right, but do not confuse the driver.
out of the way. Countless times
I've see people try to get as close as possible to a rig that is working an
obstacle. All you do is put
yourself and others in danger. If
you get run over, it's your own damn fault!
notes. If youíre next, observe
what is going on so you don't make mistakes behind the wheel.
These are just a few of the things off the top of
my head. It all boils down to
common sense. This is not by any
means a complete list or guide to spotting.
Just some simple observations. Just
remember, the spotter is an extremely important part of wheeling and is a
position that should not be taken lightly. With the help of a good spotter and an observant driver,
nearly all obstacles can be conquered.