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MadMatt’s Rollover

Real-life recovery stories are something we can all learn from!

MadMatt and I speak a fair bit on 4WD-y matters; we’re both trying to make a go of it in the world of YouTube, and we’re both committed to 4WD safety and education, albeit with different styles. But I wasn’t expecting the call I got a few days back.

Matt wanted me to discuss a rollover recovery video he was making as another pair of eyes. Given his vast experience, I was pretty chuffed at the ask! But I wouldn’t have said yes to just anyone. I know with Matt that any video will focus on the reality of it, warts and all, and there won’t be any excess drama or glossing over things. That’s important to me, so I happily agreed.

You can watch the video below, and I really recommend you do. It’s not every day you have to deal with a rollover, and what’s also important is the way Matt discusses openly and honestly discusses the human factors; emotions, stamina and focus. Sure, we can have the best recovery gear in the world, but without the right mindset it will be used unsafely, and ineffectively. The human performance aspect is a huge part of aviation safety now, and its time we gave it the attention it deserves in 4X4. Even the initial reaction…one thing the young bloke did right was his first call was “I’m ok” – because that’s all that matters. We’ve all been there with that first, horrible call over the CB which indicates a problem..and knowing everyone is ok is the #1, #2 and #3 priority.

As for the driving mistake which led to the rollover…well, we all make them and either you’ve made a similar error, or you’ve not been driving long enough! The important thing is to learn from it, not just ascribe it to bad luck which even your stellar driving skill couldn’t overcome. Again, young feller owned up to it – next up is the analysis as to why it happened, then corrective action to learn.

It was really interesting to reflect on the differences between the old 80 Series and what might have happened if the young feller had been at the wheel of a modern car like a 200 Series with ABS and ESC. I’m sure someone will chime in to say that ABS is terrible on dirt roads and ESC just slows you down, and has this been written in 1990, I’d agree. But not with modern cars, both are excellent safety aids, and I say that with the benefit of 20 years of road-testing 4X4s as hard as anyone in the journo industry. But the #1 skill road drivers need to learn is observation…not car control. There’s a saying in aviation – “above average pilots use their above average airmanship to avoid situations where their above average flying skills are needed” – and that’s true of car driving too, if you need to car-control your way to safety you’ve already made a mistake. There’s a few myths that need busting there, so stay tuned to my channel!

Another interesting aspect to consider is winch rigging. This is a really, really difficult subject to understand, which is why I’ve got several videos devoted to the topic. With anything complex like winch rigging, you need to thoroughly learn the principles first at home and then on a training course, because when you need it in the field for a real recovery, your mind will be running too fast, focused elsewhere, and you won’t have the mental capacity to figure out redirects and mechanical advantage. Same sort of thing with towing and trailer sway, something else I’ve spent a lot of time on.

Anyway, here’s the video, if you want to see a rollover recovery done right then watch, and I’m sure you’ll be both educated and entertained!

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