An off-road vehicle is considered to be any type of vehicle which is capable of driving on and off paved or gravel surface. It is generally characterized by having large tires with deep, open treads, a flexible suspension, or even caterpillar tracks. Other vehicles that do not travel public streets or highways are generally termed off-highway vehicles, including tractors, forklifts, cranes, backhoes, bulldozers, and golf carts. Off-road vehicles have an enthusiastic following because of their versatility. Several types of motorsports involve racing off-road vehicles. The most common use of these vehicles is for sightseeing in areas distant from pavement. The use of higher clearance and higher traction vehicles enables access on trails and forest roads that have rough and low traction surfaces.
Off-roading is the activity of driving or riding a vehicle on unsurfaced roads or tracks, made of materials such as sand, gravel, riverbeds, mud, snow, rocks, and another natural terrain. Types of off-roading range in intensity, from leisure drives with unmodified vehicles to competitions with customized vehicles and professional drivers. Off-roaders have been met with criticism for the environmental damage caused by their vehicles. There have also been extensive debates over the role of government in regulating the sport, including a Supreme Court case brought against the Bureau of Land Management.