I always thought it made sense for U.S. Customs and Border Protection to use high-performance Ford Raptor pickup trucks. You need a lot of horsepower to move swiftly through sand, after all. But apparently CBP forgot to actually teach its officers how to use these things because, yikes.
If you were sick and tired of your family by the end of this past holiday weekend, you should have been peeping #glamis on Instagram because people were going hog-wild with all kinds of awesome off-road vehicles in the sand dunes of Southern California.
Like Evan Taylor in this heavily modified F-150, for example. Which was flying high until it ended up on its side in the sand.
No injuries, no worries. This is why we run roll cages.
Actually the people around Taylor’s truck were suddenly in a lot more danger after the dust had settled and authorities arrived to help pull the rig off its side.
So, what’s wrong with this picture? Take your time, it’s a pretty good guide of what not to do in this situation.
Let’s just go from left to right– a CBP officer has the Raptor’s gas pedal matted while the truck is obviously bogged. Only thing that’s going to accomplish is a great chinchilla impression. This is amateur hour and I’m honestly shocked you can’t hear anybody in this crowd of off-road guys yelling for the driver to stop.
But far more shocking is the use of a trailer hitch ball as a pulling point. And after pausing the video and zooming in as close as possible, I’m almost positive that’s what we’re looking at here.
As we discussed the last time we saw somebody doing this– it’s extremely dangerous. A ball hitch is not designed to absorb force of a hit-the-gas-hard recovery like this. As a wise Aussie put it: “These tow balls are renowned for becoming bullets.”
Which makes the pack of CBP officers playing tug-of-war with the wrecked truck even more terrifying to watch.
Another cardinal rule of recovery is to stay the hell away from a strap under load. Sure, I’d assume the CBP has high-quality heavy-rated recovery straps secured to a legitimate recovery location that’s not likely to snap. I mean, I would have before I watched this video. But I’ve personally seen these things fray and rip and while a rope like the one we’re seeing used here is less lethal than a steel winch cable, I still most definitely would not want to get spanked with it.
Then there’s the officer standing on the strap right next to the truck. It’s almost like he was sent into the field having never seen photos of what can happen when a rope with 5,000 pounds of stress snaps four feet from your testicles.
I understand that sometimes you’re alone, in the middle of nowhere with nobody to help and you have to fall back on sketchy MacGyverisms just to get the hell home. But we’re talking about a well-traveled off-road park on a busy holiday weekend here. And a small army of professional first responders with a highly capable purpose-built vehicle at their disposal! Actually several, as you can see in the background.
To be honest, I think the fact that the truck got bogged and stopped moving was the only reason this trailer ball didn’t become a lethal projectile. Yes, this gang of guys got the rolled truck back on its wheels and nobody died but dear lord I felt like an old mother clutching pearls as I watched this.
We’ve reached out to the CBP to see if they have a statement on the incident, and I’m told my inquiry has been forwarded to the region in question. I’ll update this post if we hear anything from them.
Hey at least they had their sand flag!