Off-Roader Escapes Decapitation After Strap Snaps and Tow Hook Flies Through Windshield

A recovery creed: thou shalt use the correct tool to avoid certain death.

byKristin V. Shaw|
Trucks photo

When out mudding or tackling tough terrain in your vehicle, you might need one of two kinds of straps: the towing kind or the recovery kind, and there are significant differences in structure and utility. For a group of off-roaders, choosing the wrong one could have resulted in a very bad day. As in the worst kind of bad day.

In a video published by Off Road Colombia, a Jeep Cherokee is in the mud and another SUV is pulling it out with a long tow strap, complete with hooks on each end. The line suddently snaps, and the hook smashes through the back window, through the SUV, and lodges in the windshield. The camera moves in to focus on the Jeep driver’s face and it’s clear he understands that he barely escaped having a tow hook embedded in the back of his head.  

Facebook screencap/Off Road Colombia

As experienced 4x4 drivers know, tow straps have hooks or shackles on the ends. They’re not stretchy in nature, as opposed to the recovery versions, which are designed to stretch. Tow straps are intended for a free-moving vehicle and recovery straps for a stuck vehicle. Using a tow strap for a recovery operation is a dangerous move because, as these guys learned, they’re more likely to break under that kind of stress than a recovery strap. Plus, recovery straps have non-lethal loops on the end instead of metal hooks, which become flying doom deliverers when suddenly untethered.

And if it does break, it happens so lightning-fast that no one has a chance to process it, as you'll see in the video. A recovery operation can be a gnarly one, as you've seen in stories about other stuck vehicles on The Drive

Take this group of off-roaders as a cautionary tale and employ the right strap for the situation: if the vehicle is stuck, use the strap with the loops. Please. As the title of the video reads: “For this reason, it is necessary to use elements designed for 4x4 and know how to use them at the same time! Remember that for something like this we can lose a friend!” I’d like to keep you around.

CORRECTION (4/17/21 11:50 AM CT): An earlier version of the article stated the drivers were in Colombia. While the video was published by Off Road Colombia, it's not clear where the incident took place. The Drive regrets the error.

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