Recovery straps

Recovery straps—also known as ‘snatch straps’—can pull a bogged vehicle to safety. They can be unsafe if used incorrectly.

Recovery strap accidents have caused a number of deaths in Queensland since 2003.

Follow these 7 easy 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 two 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 four-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.