Our Top Safety Tips for Driving Off-Road & More With Bull Bars
Author: PX Wholesales Date Posted: 5 July 2022
Looking for bull bars online and wondering if your rig needs a set? Bull bars are a fantastic addition to your ute or truck, as they protect the vital components of your vehicle from damage. Bull bars are thick, heavy-duty bumper accessories that are designed for rough terrain, off-road adventures and long country drives. Although designed as an instrument for safety, the size and power of bull bars means that they should be used with caution. If you are planning to install a bull bar to your vehicle, it is a good idea to first educate yourself on how to use them safely.
We Love These Benefits of Bull Bars
Before you can learn about the safety measures that become necessary with a bull bar, you need to understand how they actually operate. Bull bars are excellent for promoting general safety and protection. When you drive through rough terrain of any kind, you put your vehicle at risk of being hit by rocks, sticks and other miscellaneous items. Travelling in country areas can also be dangerous due to the prevalence of wild animals crossing the roads.
Bull bars minimise the damage caused by debris and offer extra protection in the case of an animal collision. They are designed to absorb the initial impact of a collision, making them potentially life-saving in many situations.
As well as being a safety measure, bull bars are a tool for convenience and practicality. They provide a winch mounting point that almost anyone could manoeuvre, as well as a mounting point for accessories such as sand flags, UHF antennas and light installations.
Bull bars also improve the approach angle of your car, making you less likely to hit off-road terrain hard enough to cause damage. These factors make the bull bar an incredibly useful tool and, in the case of certain vehicles, lifestyles and activities, a necessary safety feature.
Do You Really Need a Bull Bar Though?
Despite the various benefits associated with bull bars, they are not always required. Bull bars are for drivers who regularly take their vehicles through hazardous areas such as forests, sand dunes and rough country roads. If you primarily use your car for suburban or urban driving, a bull bar is both unnecessary and potentially dangerous.
It is also important to remember that bull bars add significant weight to the front of your vehicle, thereby shifting the way that weight is transferred throughout the car’s body. This can cause your wheels to wear at a faster rate. It is best to only install bull bars on vehicles that are designed for them, such as 4x4s.
For some drivers, a bull bar is appealing because it improves the safety of their vehicle in the case of a crash. While this is true, bull bars also pose a great threat to pedestrians in such scenarios. In fact, research has shown that vehicles with bull bars can cause the death of a pedestrian at half the speed of a vehicle that doesn’t have a bull bar. While bull bars are practical and safe to use in remote locations and on rough terrain, they are dangerous in heavily populated, built-up areas and should not be used for driving in urban and suburban spaces. Despite this, some drivers continue to install bull bars on cars that frequent busy roads for aesthetic purposes. We strongly advise that you don’t do this — a cool-looking car is never worth putting people at greater risk.
How to Use a Bull Bar Safely
If you do install and use bull bars on your car, make sure you do so safely.
Make Sure Your Bull Bar is Properly Fitted
If you decide to install a bull bar, you must make sure that it is properly fitted to your vehicle. It is vital that the bull bar follows the general shape of your car, otherwise it could impede upon your car’s other safety features. For example, a poorly-fitted bull bar could prevent the secondary restraint system, such as the airbag, from inflating correctly during a collision. Similarly, the front structure and panels of your vehicle are designed to crumple in a way that minimises physical injury during a crash. A bull bar that doesn’t correctly fit your vehicle could potentially fault this design. Bull bars can also obscure headlights and obstruct the your vision, making the practice of driving far more dangerous.
Choose the Right Bull Bar for Your Vehicle
While the standard bumper bar is probably referenced the most, there are other types of bull bars to consider. Single loop and triple loop bull bars are popular among 4WD enthusiasts, as they are more heavy-duty than other options. Single loop bull bars provide great protection to your vehicle without adding too much weight. They feature a single loop over the grill to protect your radiator. Triple loop bull bars weigh the most but offer the maximum amount of protection. These are an ideal option if you often drive on country roads where animal collisions are commonplace.
Nudge bars are helpful in the case of a light impact and might be installed for the purposes of navigating through foliage and debris. Competition bars are generally used for off-road competitions and can be easily removed for regular driving. They offer little protection against animal collisions though. Baja bars are also designed for off-road competitions and are not recommended for general road use. They are similar in design to a standard bumper bull bar but have extra reinforcement in the chassis.
Whatever option you choose, make sure that it suits your purposes as well as your vehicle.
Check That Your Bull Bar Meets Australian Standards
Your bull bar must meet Australian standards, as well as your state’s specific requirements. In Victoria, for example, your bull bar must meet the regulations outlined by VicRoads. These regulations demand that the bull bar is fitted properly, and that it isn’t extra high, angled forwards or characterised by sharp angles. In an accident, tall bull bars with pointed corners and sharp edges put passengers at a higher risk of injury and can also cause serious damage to other cars. VicRoads encourages bull bar and vehicle manufacturers to produce bull bars that meet the latest standards.
Safety Tips for Off-Road Driving
With your bull bar installed, it’s important to make sure you’re driving safely, even in the back of beyond.
Continue to Follow Safe Driving Practices
While bull bars offer your vehicle a great deal of protection, you shouldn’t let this knowledge lull you into a false sense of security. Bull bars are in place for emergencies and shouldn’t be necessary outside of the worst case scenario. When you drive with bull bars, it is crucial that you continue to drive carefully and according to safe driving guidelines. It might be tempting to take some risks while you’re feeling extra protected, but this would only be irresponsible and dangerous. It is also important to remember that driving on off-road tracks and generally rough terrain is tricky and unpredictable. It is common for your vehicle to kick up debris or bump into unseen obstacles. Even if you consider yourself an expert in adventure, always be cautious and remain vigilant.
Safety Tips for Urban Driving
And when it’s time to come home from your latest adventure, there’s a couple of things to remember.
Take Your Bull Bar Off for Urban Driving
Due to the danger that bull bars pose to pedestrians, it is recommended that you remove your bull bar before driving through urban spaces. The size of bull bars means that, in the event of a collision with a pedestrian, the point of impact would be higher on the pedestrian’s body. This increases the likelihood of severe and fatal injuries occurring to the spine, pelvis and head of the individual. When you fit a bull bar to your vehicle, the pedestrian survival factor is reduced by 50%.
Additionally, if a vehicle fitted with a bull bar were to crash into the side of another vehicle, the occupants of the striked car would be more seriously injured than they would have been if no bull bar was present. Essentially, you should only use bull bars when the situation calls for it.
Consider a Nudge Bar Instead of a Bull Bar
If you feel that a bull bar isn’t necessary but still want some form of extra protection, why not consider a nudge bar? A nudge bar is a lightweight metal or plastic device that attaches to the front of a vehicle. These bars protect smaller cars, such as SUVs and sedans, from minor collisions. They are also designed to keep pedestrians away from the front of the vehicle, protecting them from being hit in the case of an accident. For the driver and their passengers, nudge bars should prevent injury in low impact situations and reduce the severity of injury in more serious accidents. While the protection offered by nudge bars is fairly minimal, it is very useful during standard collisions.
As lightweight devices, nudge bars are super aerodynamic. They won’t affect fuel consumption, just as their sleek appearance won’t alter the car’s overall look a great deal. Furthermore, these accessories are inexpensive and very easy to install. They’re a winning alternative to bull bars — a great choice for smaller cars that frequent main roads and populated areas.
Get Quality Bull Bars for Off-Road Adventures
Now that you know the ins and outs of owning and installing a bull bar, it’s time to choose your new vehicle accessory. Luckily, PX Wholesales makes this easy by offering a bull bar for every car and lifestyle. Our bull and nudge bars are high-quality and compliant with both Australian standards and those decided by VicRoads. They are also super easy to install, incredibly durable and prepared for whatever adventures you can throw at them. For first-class products at amazing prizes, shop bull bars at our online store today!