If you’ve ever owned a pickup truck, you’re probably used to having everyone and their mother ask to borrow the keys. Back when I had my Silverado I didn’t hesitate to lend it out to friends and family alike, but with my brother in-law’s recent request to borrow my Jeep for a trip to Moab, I definitely sat down to think about it for a while.
In the interest of full disclosure, here’s what I’m working with. My brother in-law asked to take the Jeep on a spring break trip to Moab, UT where he plans to camp and also hit some trails with his friends. He has zero off-road driving experience, and currently daily drives a Subaru Imprezza or Honda CRX. Needless to say he doesn’t have much experience behind the steering wheel of a Jeep or any 4×4, but he’s a smart guy and isn’t afraid to wrench on a vehicle.
So I did what anyone else does these days when faced with a tough decision, I immediately turned to Facebook and posted this question to the Mid-Atlantic Overland Society: “My brother in law wants to borrow my Jeep for a week long spring break trip out to Moab in 2 weeks. Am I an idiot if I let him take it? Full disclosure, he’s got almost zero experience driving off-road, but he’s not an idiot.”
The number of responses I received in the first 30 minutes was staggering, and I was admittedly pretty surprised by the huge volume of comments. The majority of the comments ranged from “don’t do it” to “tell him to get his own”, and many of them brought up the important point about safety. All of these responses definitely made me think letting him borrow my Jeep for the trip would be a bad idea.
Finally after thinking about the request and discussing it with my wife, I shot him a text, “whats the plan and when do you want to pick it up?”
Now I know all of you are thinking, “What the hell is wrong with you, and why didn’t you listen to all of the advice people gave you on the internet? What if he wrecks the truck? What if…? What if…?” All I can say is sometimes you just need to have a little faith.
On a previous trip, I put my other brother behind the wheel and his only off-road driving experience was driving a Kia Soul across a gravel parking lot
I’m not completely crazy, and I didn’t just wake up and say YOLO, I made a calculated decision based on my own personal risk tolerances and experiences. Not too long ago I was a young college kid that had a tendency to make a lot of
dumb ass risky decisions, yet I survived. All of this was possible because of people that were always willing to have a little faith in me. Examples of this were my father teaching me to drive manual in his brand new Porsche and always throwing me the keys whenever I asked for them. I don’t know why he did it, but I’m betting it’s because he valued me having the experience over the potential for monetary loss (thanks dad).
I look at this as paying it forward, because I don’t consider my brother in-law to be my in-law, I consider him to be my brother. I also want him to have an awesome experience in Moab with a built Jeep and not get stuck staying on the pavement in a sedan. In regards to the potential injuries that could occur? That’s life, we take risks. Our hobby is inherently dangerous, but we’re all still here alive and in one piece (well at least most of us). If you think I’m an idiot, look me in the face and tell me you’ve never taken a risk before that could lead to some sort of injury. If you can do it with a straight face, I’ll apologize to you because your life must suck.
Is there a chance he rolls my truck and I never get to drive it again? Absolutely. Am I going to be pissed? Probably. Will we laugh about it over beers? You bet your ass. That’s what it’s all about, now would I let some random guy I’ve never met before borrow my Jeep?
Hell no Possibly! But if my family shows up at the door asking for the keys to my Jeep, I’ll say exactly what my father told me, “you know where the keys are, don’t screw up.”
Unfortunately the trip didn’t work out due to some logistical issues, but this still made for a great article. Rick, they keys are always available for your next adventure.
Good on you for giving him the chance. I’ve heard good things about Jeep rentals in Moab from friends there via plane or otherwise without their own trail rig. Pretty sure they don’t *let* you take them off-road, but you can definitely see a lot out there without getting too risky.
Thanks Cydney, there are definitely a lot of good options for rentals out west, but I wanted to give him the opportunity to have fun in a built truck. To me the Jeep is just another tool, and if a family member wants to borrow it, the keys are always available.