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Question: as a spotter what are my responsibilities if I spot someone and damage is incurred? Do I help pay for damage or is it just part of it?

I spotted my friend thru some rocks. I am new to spotting and new to going over rocky trails. My friend is aware of both. He told me he wanted to put his tire as close as possible to one rock. I told him if he does that his tire would be wedged between two rocks. He said that it was fine and wanted to do it.

I spotted him placing his front passenger tire between the 2 rocks, he got past that but then his rear tire came around and dragged against the rock, moving it and then it punctured his rear tire.

After he was past that we talked and he said I shouldn't have placed his front tire there. I reminded him that I told him that it would be wedged between 2 rocks. It was not a heated discussion. Finally I asked him, what tire did he want between the rocks, the passenger front or passenger rear? He said the rear tire. I told him then the problem was that I was talking about his front tire and he was talking about his rear tire. I said we mis communicated by not specifying which tire each of us were thinking/talking about.

So I feel bad that it happened and he has not asked for help with costs, I dont know if I should offer to help pay for the new tire. Or what my obligation is in this regard as his spotter.

What do you think? Thanks for any and all input.
 

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I’m a retired truck driver who has had people spot for me or stop traffic. I’ve also had people spot for me on the trail and I others. The driver is always responsible for for what they do with and to their vehicle. That includes getting communication correct.
 

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I’m a retired truck driver who has had people spot for me or stop traffic. I’ve also had people spot for me on the trail and I others. The driver is always responsible for for what they do with and to their vehicle. That includes getting communication correct.
I agree, the driver is ultimately responsible since he did not communicate his desires appropriately.
If you did something silly, then I might consider helping with cost. You cannot read his mind, so better communication is required.
 

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I agree with the above (driver is always responsible) but have some other thoughts. I have wheeled with "new" wheelers a fair bit and often times they do not or are not willing to accept responsibility for their own actions. If I sense someone like that on a run, I will not spot for them. Likewise, I've had inexperienced folks spot for me which led to damage. I accepted the damage as my own. Likewise, if I think a spotter is not up to the task, I'll ask someone else to spot (DW for example).

Inexperienced wheelers tend to think that spotting is easy. Spectators tend to think they can yell useful advice when someone is being spotted. These are just two potential issues that drivers need to be weary of - once you have a group of folks that you wheel with on a regular basis, you can build trust.

Finally, there is nothing wrong with offering to pay for damage if you truly think you're responsible (but be careful, there are a ton of greedy and less-than-honest people out there). I assume damage to my vehicle and would never ask a spotter to pay for anything.
 
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Driver assumes damage.

When I get my wifey or some one new I don't trust them for the complicated stuff. I give the simple instruction to yell stop If I am going to hit something. Even at that the driver is still responsible.

Something that bothers me when on the trail or watching videos is that the biggest responsibility of a spotter should be to make sure the spectators stand back. Last year at EJS there was a lady hit by a Jeep. Not to debate who was at fault but many times I see people standing too close or in the line of fire of moving vehicles or even worse in the kill zone of a winch cable.
 

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I remember when a driver in our group looked at me for support to do Hell’s Gate. “That decision is all yours bro.” He did well.
 

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Everybody had great points to make, I'll add a few rambling thoughts.

An experienced spotter working with an experienced driver is a thing of beauty. An inexperienced spotter working with an experienced driver usually isn't a huge problem. There was a gal trying to spot me as I climbed up The Chute in St. George. This is a steep climb in a wedge and as I neared the top she was directing me to my left which I knew wasn't correct so I ignored her and completed the climb.

An experienced spotter working with an inexperienced driver can be a great training opportunity for the new driver assuming he trusts the spotter and follows their directions. If they aren't paying attention or ignores the spotting things can go very badly. An inexperienced spotter (or worse several inexperienced spotters) working with a new driver can be catastrophic.

I was trail leader for 7 Mile Rim two or three years ago and had a group of 12. At the end of the trail is Wipeout Hill which an optional obstacle and one side is particularly tricky with a ledge to climb. As trail leader I usually do all of the spotting and was spotting a 4 door up the difficult side. I knew what the right line was but the driver's partner insisted on spotting him in the middle of the climb so I told her to have at it. As I recall he finally gave up and came up the easier side.

If I'm not familiar with a spotter and/or driver, I don't fully trust them. Once you wheel with the same group several times you come to realize the skill level of the individuals.

As Don (Mouse) mentioned, spotting is an art and isn't easy. The spotter has to recognize the capabilities of the driver and the vehicle - 33" tires? 37" tires? Manual tranny or automatic?
 

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John is a great spotter and driver. Makes trail riding so much more enjoyable with folks like that!
 

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My wife and I have been doing a lot of 4x4 trails solo. We have found out that she needs training on spotting! I am planning on setting up something simple on my property for her to get experience getting my wheels up on a rock and stuff like that.

Anyone know of a good training video for spotting we could watch? That way I can reference the video instruction when I try to explain to her what to do so she won't think I'm yelling at her;)

Lake Tahoe from Genoa Peak
 

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LOL I know that one and there are others that while you're watching you can see a roll coming and on they go... and roll.

My wife is ready to do some training but for some reason I get blamed for hurting her feelings. It's a wife husband thing.

There was a news report recently about a woman taking flying lessons from an instructor, no news there but her husband was a professional flight instructor and was watching from the ground. They talked about a husband should never should try to teach your wife but get someone to do it to keep the peace:rolleyes:
 

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Yeah, I married up for sure, but spotting wouldn't work out with her. I'm just happy she goes when there are other wives. In order to do White Rim in Moab, we had to do 120 miles of trail to experience the whole trail. The end of it had washed out. My wife actually enjoyed rattling around at 10 mph for 120 miles.
 

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My wife won’t go with me anymore.😞
Her as a spotter, never. However my sons wife is very capable and he is a pro.
For the original question, the driver shouldn’t have asked you to spot based on your experience. Now he’s put you in a guilt spot you don’t deserve.
His Jeep, his driving, his fault.
 

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Interesting conversation. As far as the OP, a tire, meh, no big deal. I'm in the camp that says it's always on the driver. And communication before things go sideways, as well as during the actual spotting, as well as in the aftermath of a boo boo, is the all important theme. But a tire? At the end of the day? Who cares?

But, you feel bad about it, that is understandable.

I once spotted a good friend into the worst roll I've ever personally witnessed from outside the vehicle (I've witnessed a couple worse from inside...). That ended in absolutely no drama to our friendship though. I felt terrible at first, but, after we dissected how it happened and my friend helped me understand that in the end it really came down to him, as the driver, I felt better.

What happened, in as few words as possible. I picked my line and went down first, having him spot my tires where I asked him to (front tires, lol!). I got down fine but didn't feel fine about it. Scared the crap out of me and I told him so - in no way did I want to spot him down it - we should just bag and meet back up in town (Moab). He wanted to go though, so chose to have me spot his tires on exactly the line I had taken. I was in an LJ. He was in a TJ. Wheelbase made all the difference... And he had a fairly horrific roll (endo, then barrel roll, then half a barrel roll, then slid down the hill on his lid towards a big certain death drop).

End of the day, he picked his line, I spotted him onto it and it turned out to be a really bad choice. But he picked it and he owned it and did everything he could to make me NOT feel responsible.

Now, contrast that to... I have a very good friend that I ride shotgun with a lot. He's a very experienced driver, but not a very good technical wheeler. He always has me get out and spot him. He is terrible at listening to me or doing anything I spot him to do. To the point, I dread spotting him. Nothing really bad has happened yet. But it's only a matter of time - he really, completely ignores me when it matters most and has had several close calls. And I'm afraid how that will work out in the aftermath. I really just don't want to spot for him anymore. I need to try, again, to have that communication. It has failed multiple times already though. When he gets in a tight spot he just panics and does whatever, doesn't matter what I'm trying to tell him.

- DAA
 

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....He wanted to go though, so chose to have me spot his tires on exactly the line I had taken. I was in an LJ. He was in a TJ. Wheelbase made all the difference... ...
Glad you mentioned that. Wheelbase is the other major factor to consider when spotting. The experienced spotter will understand a line that will work perfectly for a TJ won't work for a 4-door and the converse is true as well. This level of understanding comes after spending hours and hours watching the pros do it (and seat time.

When wifey and I started shooting (handgun) it was sort of the blind leading the blind but I improved quite a bit but she reached a performance plateau. I arranged for her to have a full day private instruction with a lady shooting instructor - well worth the money. Never attempt to train your own wife :whistle:.
 

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A lot of good points. At the end it is the drivers responsibility to make sure there is good communication. I have spotted a lot and here are some rules I follow.
1) tell the driver to only listen to me and focus on me.
2) if the crowd starts saying things, i tell them to shut up as they are only confusing the driver.
3) i ask the driver exactly what line he wants and exactly where he wants his tires.
4) if possible i walk the obstacle with them, sometimes even stopping part way through.
5) i tell the driver i am done if I see him ignoring me. It is a 2 person team, not one person who knows better.
 
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