Reduce Your Risk of Injury by Riding Responsibly on These Seriously Fun Vehicles
All-terrain vehicles — sometimes called ATVs or four-wheelers, depending on the vehicle and where you’re from — can be a lot of fun to ride. You get a rush from feeling the breeze all around you as you cruise along off-roading paths or even when you’re using your ATV for utility purposes on your farm or other large property.
However, ATVs, like any powersports equipment, are not without their own sets of risks that come with riding. You can mitigate and reduce these risks by following important safety precautions and always choosing to ride responsibly.
ATV Safety Tips
- Wear safety equipment. Many states require ATV riders to wear a helmet and eye protection, but even if yours isn’t one of them, it’s important that you do it anyway.The best helmets have full face shields and meet Department of Transportation safety standards. If your helmet doesn’t have a visor for eye protection, make sure you wear shatterproof goggles while you ride. You can reduce your risk of death by 42 percent and your risk of non-fatal brain injuries by 64 percent simply by wearing a helmet.You should consider long pants, long sleeves, gloves, and over-the-ankle boots to be part of your safety equipment when riding an ATV, too. Clothing that covers your body can help prevent injuries to your skin. You can even buy specially-made protective powersports clothing to help prevent injury.
- Drive at a safe speed based on the terrain. The faster you go on an ATV, the less stable it becomes. That’s because the tires on your ATV are not meant for high speeds or for driving on solid surfaces, like pavement.If you must drive on pavement, limit your time spent on it, and stick to slow speeds only. ATV tires are not meant for driving on surfaces like these.You also should take care to drive at safe speeds on rocky and slippery surfaces so that you can remain in control of your ATV at all times.
- Treat your ATV like a regular vehicle. This means you should follow your state’s ATV laws, just like you’d follow the rules of the road while driving on highways and streets in your city.You also should never operate an ATV under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or exceed the limit of passengers recommended by your ATV’s manufacturer. You wouldn’t drive drunk or fill your vehicle up with too many people, so don’t do it on an ATV either.
- Consider taking an ATV safety course. These classes, led by experienced ATV riders and owners, will help you learn the safest way to operate and enjoy your ATV.You’ll discover how you can get the same thrill and adrenaline rush out of operating your ATV while decreasing your risk of injury. Ask your ATV dealer where you can find a class like this in your area.
- Learn first-aid basics. In the event of an accident, it’s important to know first aid techniques, which could help save your life or the life of your riding buddy. Certification classes are available in your area.Take along a first aid kit with you on all your ATV riding trips, and have a method to get help if someone gets injured.
- If you’re under 16, don’t operate an ATV. Most health and safety experts discourage kids under 16 years old from driving or riding an ATV.ATVs require the driver to make quick adjustments to speed and their weight balance to help turn the ATV and stay in control of the vehicle. It takes physical strength and effort to drive an ATV!Younger children are less likely to have the physical strength to drive an ATV, nor are they able to make the quick decisions necessary to operate one safely.
Finding the Right ATV for Sale
ATVs come in a variety of sizes, some weighing more than 600 pounds. It’s important that when you’re looking for an ATV for sale, that you’re only considering ones that are appropriately sized for your height, weight, and strength.
Check the manufacturer’s warning label on any ATV you’re considering to determine which age group the ATV is designed for. An ATV dealer can help you determine the right sized vehicle for you.