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Recovery straps

Recovery straps—also known as ‘snatch straps’—can pull a bogged vehicle to safety. However, they can be unsafe if used incorrectly. Recovery strap accidents have caused a number of deaths in Queensland.

Think safety first with these helpful steps

Step 1—follow the product instructions

By law, your recovery straps must give you:

  • safety warnings, including a minimum breaking strength
  • instructions for safe use.

The minimum breaking strength must be at least double the gross vehicle mass (GVM) of the lighter of the 2 vehicles used in the recovery.

Step 2—check the strap

Make sure your recovery strap isn’t damaged at all. Never use a damaged strap.

Step 3—attach it correctly

Attach the recovery strap to a point on the vehicle that is suitable to use with the strap. Make sure it has a safety rating to pull that much weight.

You could also use a shackle, as long as it:

  • complies with the legal standards
  • has a working load limit that’s higher than the strap’s minimum breaking strength.

Never attach it to:

  • a standard tow ball
  • your vehicle’s tie-down point.

These aren’t strong enough to pull a bogged vehicle. They can easily break off and cause injury or death.

Step 4—use it properly

Only use recovery straps to pull a bogged vehicle to safety. Never use them to lift a vehicle or tow it conventionally.

Step 5—reduce rebounding

Recovery straps are elastic. They can easily rebound when fully stretched, and this can be a safety hazard.

You can reduce the risk of rebounding by covering the straps with:

  • a recovery damper
  • a heavy bag
  • a blanket.

Step 6—keep bystanders safe

Rebounding straps are deadly. People have died from being struck by rebounding straps. Have any bystanders move away from the vehicles to a distance of at least 1.5 times the length of the unstretched strap.

Step 7—educate yourself

If you are likely to use recovery straps, sign up for a 4-wheel-drive training course. Most nationally recognised courses will give you instructions about using recovery straps. Check with the course provider before you sign up.