Driving in unmarked roads will sure get you stuck between paths and by-ways. The terrain is normally uneven and springs surprises unto even the most discerning driver. There will be twigs to contend with, there will be sand pits that feign stability but give way too easily, there will be a bump that will require wedges to maneuver and a winch if not the tug of strong five or more men.
Growing up in the village we witnessed many a vehicle get stuck especially during rainy seasons on our murram roads. It never made sense when they called them “all weather roads” – but then again it has a twisted meaning. That they will weather you out in all seasons. During the rains they would be muddy and a sore to motorists and pedestrians. While during the sunny season the vehicles would leave behind a train of smoky wafts of dust and grit to the pedestrians.
It is in the observations of seasoned drivers that I horned skills of getting out of ruts and continue to apply this as my journeys take me through scary ruts in the expanse of this country and beyond. Here are seven pointers to help you get out of ruts:
- Get out and scout the ruts
If by chance you never saw the ruts and got in abruptly then you have to stop and take stock. Do not under estimate a rut – small ruts can suck all your energy and still be stuck for hours if not days. Get out scout the area of the rut. Look for the smallest areas of advantage. It could be a strip of a stone or a hint of rock. That could be the much needed break to get you out of the ruts. Life has such and good breaks out of difficult times are often from unlikely sources. Look within and without for that advantage.
- Read signs, research routes and seasons
When you are forewarned you are forearmed. Knowing crucial information about a route or a venture from the onset is the best way to beat any eventualities. But then again if you find out that what you know is contrary to what you find on the ground then quickly un-learn, relearn and adapt. Flexibility is what makes the most of adventures and how charming are the stories to share from the experiences.
- Get tools and customize equipment or things
We have modern tools like a winch and the like then we have those that you build on site just to get out of ruts. We once got stuck in a small rut in the outskirts of Lugari forest with my wife and we built a raft like thing out of twigs and grass. And when we were almost out and noticed our raft like tool was short she threw in one of the car mats and guess what? We got out – though that action got her right in the pathway of mud as I stepped on the gas.
- Call in help early enough
Never assume a rut. Any problem that looks simple for you to solve might get you bogged down. This one time in the company of my wife, daughter and her nanny we set off in our Toyota Hilux double cabin pickup for our upcountry home. We arrived in the rain and the last stretch off the tarmac was muddy as usual. I have used this road for many years and never have I been stuck even in a two wheel drive vehicle. My assumption of driving a four wheel drive got us right in a deep rut. Another assumption of the rut got me revving up and before we knew it, an hour had passed. All this time I had ignored the free help that had availed itself as a small crowd had gathered around about the vehicle. Had I tapped into their help early enough then I would have been out in a jiffy. When I finally humbly asked them to help, those Luhya men about thirteen of them lifted the 4X4 from the rut in under 20minutes. Little did I know that a cane moving tractor had made the rut deeper and no matter how hard I stepped on the gas with the shaft firmly put in the rut I was not making progress but digging deeper. To date my wife remembers those men and how they loosely suggested and lifted the car out. “Si tupepeko hii kari tuitoeko kwa shimo mpaka pale” loosely translated as “Why don’t we lift this car from this rut to that place”. We laughed at their deep Luhya accent. And gasped as well at their demonstration of will and strength.
- Innovate and improvise quickly to start making progress however little
Ruts are always treacherous. They feign their looks and can deceive many. In business there are many problems that can rock the firm especially cashflow. When clients show difficulty in paying up; quickly discuss a payment plan with them DO NOT WAIT. However little the progress made reflects on the full amount – take it and review regularly. This also goes for supplier payments. When projected income is not netted as envisaged, go ahead and start a drawdown on the amount you owe them. A rut stretch however treacherous can be conquered in time as you make small movements. Always aim for the next jolt and step forward.
- Build up your guts and faith as the help feeds on it
Just like a fire needs kindling so does the help in moving out of a rut stretch. Remember to help them see the outcome you want. Then aim for small forward steps. Applaud them, get to know them in between breaths and call out to them respectfully. Show them how to handle your vehicle if you are particular about marks and dents. Cheer them up and offer your friendship as you never know when again you will meet. I have made good friends around the country from such situations and some have turned out to be very solid bankable relations.
- Learn: Listen, Look-up, Link up and move out
Being stuck in the rut slows you down. You can choose to whine on the time lost, dents caused and any other bad thing or create a knowledge base out of it. God has a funny sense of humour and he will use a rut stretch to get your attention. Learn the area of the rut, the people culture, take in the scenery, make friends and most importantly take lessons from the “being stuck” position. When you can draw “the what not to do”, “how to” and “why you do” then you have grown from the stuck position and may never get stuck in similar situations again. Many guys you have been stuck before in ruts – go back and kit their vehicles from the knowledge they gather in different terrains. Such that they are always better prepared when they encounter ruts again.
As we pursue our resolutions this year I pray we will all get out of the rut stretch; in relationships, business even spiritual matters and be well into growing for the better.