Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Group Dynamics in Sticky Situations

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Explain your idea in a respectful yet detailed manner: “I am sure you know what you are doing, but why couldn’t we (insert idea of choice) hook up to the back of the frame so the cable doesn’t pull the front around?” or “I am concerned about (insert situation of choice) the big rock on the right—when you drop into that hole, I think your vehicle is going to lean into that rock. What do you think?

If you are the one driving and find yourself in a tight place requiring spotting, don’t be afraid to say something like “Hey, Joe, this looks a little close—would you mind watching my right side as I squeeze past that rock?” Identify your spotter, explain what you are concerned about and tell them where to look and what signals to give to help you negotiate through.

So, as I sat there, teetering on two wheels and wondering where my right tire really was, I realized that my first mistake was in not establishing a spotter before I was, quite literally, between a rock and a hard place. In this situation, upon later discussion with one of the onlookers at the scene, I discovered that everyone present didn’t think they were qualified to give me orders, so no one spoke up.

My second mistake was rushing into a situation which did not require rushing. I could have teetered for hours until a suitable spotter presented himself. Instead I waited what was probably only two seconds, but seemed like forever with my pleas echoing off the canyon walls. With no response again, I muttered obscenities in exasperation, turned the steering wheel slightly to the left and eased off the brake, letting my front left tire drop down, holding my breath to feel if my right tire would grip the tenuous edge, or drop off and stick me in the hole. As my left tire dropped down to firm ground, I felt my butt cheeks clenching the upholstery as if to lift the Jeep over the hole, wondering if sheer will power alone could enhance traction.

Despite making several mistakes and the high pucker factor of the entire situation, the 4×4 gods smiled down on me–the Jeep stuck and I pulled through unscathed, but with lessons learned.

* Contact Nena at Sedona Jeep School by calling 928.274.0570

Related – Driving Skills: Left Foot Braking

* Published by JPFreek Adventure Magazine – The leader in Jeep and adventure enthusiast publications.

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