While ATV-related injuries are on the decline, many ATV accidents still occur every year. Avoid becoming a statistic and enjoy safe and fun riding by practicing these basic ATV safety precautions.
Get in Gear
Protective gear is a critical part of safe riding. Because many ATV accidents result in head injuries, helmets are a necessity. Be sure your helmet fits properly: it should feel snug and fasten securely. Additionally, goggles, gloves, boots, long-sleeved shirts and pants not only help protect your skin, but can also promote a more comfortable, stable ride.
Know Your ATV
Not all ATVs are created equally. Depending on the model, ATVs can differ in a variety of ways, such as brake variations; transmission, clutch and throttle types; occupancy requirements; and minimum age recommendations. Consult the vehicle’s manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure that you are in compliance with the guidelines. This also promotes optimal handling by familiarizing you with all switches and controls.
Maintain Your Machine
Routinely inspect your ATV to ensure that it’s road-worthy: brakes, tires, controls, shifters and lights and switches should all be in decent working condition; also check oil and fuel levels before each outing. A tool kit can be a lifesaver, while adding a winch and its accessories is another valuable safety measure — particularly when sticky situations arise.
Consider Your Surroundings
It is important to consider how your ATV handles in different situations — from inclement weather to hilly terrain. While ATVs are designed for a variety of environments, different situations demand different best practices. Following these not only benefits your personal safety, but also extends the lifespan of your vehicle.
ATVs can be unpredictable and hard to control on on paved roads; in fact, paved roads are a factor in a significant number of ATV accidents and fatalities. Refrain from driving your ATV on paved roads to avoid rollovers, crashes with cars and other threats.
Avoid Drugs and Alcohol
ATVs are not toys; they are motorized vehicles which move at extremely high speeds and require 100 percent of your full attention. Driving an ATV while impaired by drugs or alcohol can have disastrous consequences.
Go Back to School
One of the best ways to ensure best ATV safety practices is to take a hands-on safety training course. This can help you learn how to control your ATV in both typical and atypical conditions, as well as gain invaluable experience with the comprehensive range of off-road riding situations.