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."
- 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.