About a year and a half ago I was riding back with lunch for my staff in my friend's truck. The police had closed the road leading to the entrance of my building. Without really thinking about it, I instructed my friend to drive through a dirt parking lot in four-wheel drive, jump a sidewalk, and be right at the building entrance. Unfortunately, a cop saw what we were doing and almost gave my friend a 2 point ticket for his creative driving maneuvers. My only statement to my friend following the incident (yes, he was quite upset with me for my suggestion) was, "That's what I would have done."
There is a great article in this month's Fast Company that was written by Seth Godin that outlines the rules for off-roading at work. Here's a quick restatement of Seth's rules:
- If a focus group likes it, don't do it. My "focus group" (i.e., my friend driving the truck) didn't really think that driving through a dirt lot in four-wheel drive to get around the cops was all that good of an idea, which is exactly why I pushed him to do it.
- If you're worried about getting fired, do it anyway. My friend, in fact, prior to the beginning of our off-road adventure, did express concerns about getting a ticket; hey, that's what made it more fun than just driving across a random dirt field.
- Doing something just a little differently is sure to get you in big trouble. 2 points on your driver's license is big trouble, take my word for it.
- Your boss will never tell you to do this, because that makes it her responsibility, not yours. Don't wait, just go. Ok, so I used a little bit of peer pressure in my situation, but my friend made the decision to commit and drive through. Hell, he hardly even slowed down once he jumped the curb.
- You'll get lousy mileage, so don't do it often. Four wheel drive (not all wheel drive3, but true four wheel drive) in any vehicle burns through gas at an astonishing rate; that includes my friend's four wheel drive truck.
So is off-roading risky? You bet it is! Broken axles, windshields, headlights; roll-overs; having to be towed out -- all of these things can happen when you off-road, which is why many of the SUVs that you see driving around will never go off-road. By the way, putting your SUV into four wheel drive when it's snowing is not off-roading.
Similarly, off-roading at work is a risky thing; you have to decide whether you are the kind of person that's willing to risk getting a ticket to achieve the end result. Furthermore, there are only so many points that you can get on a license before it's revoked, so heed Seth's last bullet above and don't make a habit of doing it.
I'd like to invite everyone to visit my new Hummer blog at HummerCity.com and start posting your comments.
If anybody's interested in off roading, camping, or SUV'n in Texas you can find links to all the information you need at YoTexas.com
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