Safety during a 4WD recovery is something which should never be overlooked, yet so often it is! Watch the news closely, or watch enough videos on the internet and you will see what I mean; snatch straps snapping, tow balls flying, and entire bull bars being ripped off vehicles are not uncommon.
So what can you do to make it safer? Grab a Ridge Ryder Winch Damper. While it is called a ‘winch damper’, you should also be using one of these on your snatch strap or anywhere else where large forces are at play. The idea behind this device is simple: Hang it over your cable or strap, and should anything snap or a hook let go; the size and weight of the damper will work to absorb the energy unleashed. That winch damper could mean the difference between a broken hook smashing your windscreen, or a broken hook smashing your face!
A specially designed blanket such as this Ridge Ryder one has a few benefits. For one, it’s the perfect weight at 1.1 kg. Too light and it wouldn’t do a very good job, too heavy and you’ve got another potentially deadly missile. The second draw-card is the Velcro which allows you to secure it firmly to the rope. Without this I have found other damper solutions just fall off, especially with the sudden tug in a snatch recovery. It is also bright orange with a reflective strip, great for making other people in the area alert as to what is going on.
Bonus point! The damper is made of some sort of PVC plastic, and mud washed off REALLY easily when I got it filthy!
But do you need one? Or two? Personally I go for two. It is better, but you don’t necessarily have to. Think of it this way. If you use one damper, you place it in the middle of the rope or strap between the two vehicles. Straps normally break at the stitching or the eye. So if the end lets go, there is still enough travel for it to hit a vehicle before the damper can do its job. If you’ve got two dampers, you can place one about a quarter length of the strap each end. Now if the strap goes, or a shackle or hook breaks; it doesn’t have far to fly before most of the recoil is absorbed by the damper.
With the amount of 4WDing and recoveries I do, it’s only a matter of time before a piece of recovery gear breaks. When it does, hopefully that extra few moments spent setting up the damper blanket pays off!
If you’re into 4WDing too then don’t take the risk, get yourself a Ridge Ryder Winch Damper online or in store!