Sometimes it’s important to remember that even at a modest pace, in a capable vehicle, off-roading can be every bit as dangerous as it looks. This Lexus GX losing power and hurtling backwards down one of Moab’s best-known wheeling spots is an example of just that.
This clip has been floating through off-road circles online recently. It seems like this Lexus GX climbing its way up Hell’s Gate–a particularly taxing section of the famous Moab truck trail Hell’s Revenge, where vehicles are forced to straddle a deep v-gulley–simply lost power, cutting the driver’s power brakes and power steering.
What you’re seeing in the video looks like a complete disaster, but it’s actually a pretty impressive execution of instinct on the driver’s part. They managed to keep the wheel fairly straight during an uncontrolled descent, which probably prevented the runaway Lexus from tipping over and barrel-rolling.
While it sucks that this situation had to claim two trucks, and I’m sure the experience was pretty rattling for all involved, if that other SUV hadn’t been sitting at the bottom waiting its turn, the loose truck might have gone further and ended up who knows where.
Hell’s Revenge is a long and twisty route that makes you sneak by quite a few scary drops. There’s plenty of traction and a lot of vehicles can get through, but, you need a fair bit of fortitude to drive the route. If you’ve never been there, check out the photos from a trip Jalopnik took there in 2014 or watch this vlog about the trail.
Reports indicate that both the people in the crashing rig and the Lexus that got crashed into were OK, which makes a strong case for using a fairly modern rig for off-road adventures, since an older SUV might have just crumbled. Then again, manual brakes don’t drop out when an engine fails.
But the real takeaway is that you just need to keep your head on a swivel when you’re wheeling, even if you’re at the bottom of an obstacle waiting for your turn. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that advice can be applied to your daily routine–get your head out of your phone while you’re waiting in line, it might save your life. Luckily, everyone in this clip got to go home, even if their trucks couldn’t take them.