I have watched the show and enjoyed it, I have to admit, and not because anyone on the show makes good decisions, I can tell you that.
But killing yourself while drunken off-road wheeling is where I draw the line. This kid ended his life over a good time that could have been avoided completely. I can get behind doing all sorts of not-so-smart things, folks, but death by fun isn’t one of them.
Shain Gandee and a couple friends closed a bar and then hit the hills to do some mudding in his Ford Bronco II. Already we can see the good decisions happening, but it does actually get worse. A lot worse.
The Bronco got stuck beyond belief and, since they were in the only vehicle on the run that night, they had no choice but to sit there in the mud hole. Then it got cold, so they let the engine run so the heater would work while the Bronco was half submerged. This is disaster just waiting to happen.
I have been an off-road enthusiast since I could drive, basically. I’ve owned several off-road vehicles and I know the rules. I currently wheel a very built Jeep Cherokee and am in the market for an old Ramcharger. I have run every trail around multiple times, and I’m heavily involved in the community.
These chaps did several things wrong that fateful night. Firstly, they were drinking and wheeling. That is a cardinal no-no, and this unfortunate incident is a good indication of why. A simple mud stuck led to a series of bad decisions that ultimately resulted in several people dying.
Second, they told nobody where they were going. How is someone supposed to come get you out of a bad position if nobody in the world knows where you are? The first thing you do, even if you think you’ll only wheel for a few minutes, is let someone know where you’ll be. It can literally save your life. Hair situations happen in the blink of an eye off-road; fine one second, in trouble the next.
Third, they let the engine run while the exhaust was completely submerged in mud. Had they run the engine intermittently here and there just to get some heat in the cab, they might have been okay. But it seems like they just turned it on and huddled in for the long haul. Needless to say, that’s anything but smart.
I hate to sound harsh, but it’s folks like these that give us responsible off-road drivers a bad name. The folks who correctly drive a trail and come out the other side smiling don’t make the news. The idiots make the news, and then it gets into the heads of the masses that wheeling is bad, dangerous, even deadly, and it should all stop immediately, if not sooner.
Don’t be Shain Gandee and completely strike out. The it’ll never happen to me attitude won’t cut it. Things like this can and do happen to people, all the time. If you head out into the wilderness, tell someone where you are going and don’t be so hammered that you kill yourself. Please. The world has enough tragedies already.