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.