In this post you will find a small collaborative collection of useful things to know about recovering vehicles.
As always, if you are not comfortable with doing something, don't do it. You know your experience levels, do a self-assesment.
Please feel free to post up your suggestions to this list, or to point out anything that I have forgotten to include.
There is a more expansive guide here... http://www.pirate4x4.com/tech/billavista/Recovery/
What not to do:
1. Do not try to recover a vehicle unless you know what you are doing and are willing to take responsibly for everything that could happen while doing it.
2. Do not try to recover a vehicle by pushing it in any way with another vehicle.
3. Do not try to recover a vehicle whos recovery point is low enough to cause the line to "rest" on the body when the slack is removed.
4. Do not try a recovery angle greater than 45 degrees, this can and often does result in catastrophic damage to suspension components.
4a. Exception: Pulling at up to 75 degrees is acceptable IF recovery point is the front of the vehicle AND the person can turn the wheels in the direction of the recovering vehicle.
5. Do not try to recover a vehicle by jerking or yanking it.
6. Do not stand in between the recovery vehicle and the vehicle being recovered unless hooking or unhooking.
7. Do not try and recover from any point that is not on the list in this post unless highly experienced.
What to do:
1. Clear any obstructions along your angle of recovery. (Read: Don't drag the stuck vehicle through stuff.)
2. Make sure that the vehicle being recovered is in neutral.
3. Connect your line by hooking it to appropriate recovery points on both vehicles.
4. Clear everyone from around both vehicles, they should stand at least 1.5 times the length of the line away from the recovery points, if that isn't possible they should stand behind some kind of cover in case the line snaps.
5. Pay close attention to any children and make sure an adult has acknowledged that they are in direct supervision of them.
6. Let the recovering vehicle IDLE (Read: Do not apply throttle) forwards or backwards until your line is generally taut.
7. Re-check your recovery points to make sure your line has not slid or bound up on anything.
8. Hang or place something on the very center of the line to prevent it from recoiling should it come off mid pull, this is called a line damper and can save your life.
8a. Blankets, heavy coats, or actual line dampers work well.
7. Re-check to make sure no one is in between the vehicles and is at a safe distance.
8. Slowly apply throttle (or button) to pull vehicle in desired direction.
9. Immediately cease recovery if at any point you can see your recovery point flexing or you hear anything out of the ordinary.
Generally Acceptable Recovery Points:
1. The vehicles frame.
2. The vehicles subframes.
3. Tow hooks.
4. Recovery shackles.
5. Trailer hitch recievers.
= Wherever you have attached whatever it is your are using to pull the stuck vehicle out.
= The angle at which you are pulling a vehicle in relation to it's designed direction of travel. Otherwise known as forwards and backwards.
= The vehicle doing the pulling.
= The object attaching both vehicles.
= Connecting your line.
= Disconnecting your line.
= Object placed on the center of a line while recovering to prevent line recoil.
Tips and Tricks:
1. When using a winch you can double pulling power by using a pulley block to double the line back. Has added benefit of using more line that will also increase the pull since you'll have less wraps on the drum.
2. Max rating for a winch is with a single wrap of line on the drum, the more wraps the weaker the pull.