ATV Safety Tips
Always wear safety gear. Everyone knows you should wear a helmet, but long pants, closed toe shoes/boots, gloves and goggles are also essential.
Hopping on an ATV with flip flops and shorts is never a good idea, but it’s something you see all the time.
Adjust your speed to the conditions. Of course it’s fun to go fast, but whipping through some murky water and hitting a big rock or falling into a pothole you didn’t know existed is a recipe for flipping.
No Showboating. File this under “obvious” and “don’t be stupid”, but people love to pop wheelies and spin donuts in the dirt.
Keep in mind that Evel Knievel was a trained stunt profession and he broke 433 bones over the course of his career; he holds the Guinness Book of World Records for most bones broken in a lifetime. (true story – Google it)
Don’t ride alone. This is especially true on overnight trips and dangerous trails where a breakdown, running out of water or an accident could quickly become a life or death situation.
Drive sober, no drinking/no drugs. Not only is operating an ATV/UTV under the influence dangerous, but it is also illegal.
Avoid driving tired. Being tired can impair your judgement and decrease your response time, so be sure to take regular breaks for snacks, hydration and rest.
Do not carry a passenger on a single rider ATV. I think it’s especially tempting to take a child on a short little fun ride as it seems easy and low risk, but it’s extremely dangerous.
Know Your Limits. Choose trails that are in keeping with your skill set. When trying to increase your experience and riding skills, don’t overreach, work at it slow and steady. Do some challenging group/club rides with experienced ATVers and gain the confidence and skills you need to up your riding game..
Inspect your ride. Make sure everything looks good before hitting the trail – tires, rims, chain, sprockets, connections and cables.
Do not ride on paved roads or highways. Only ride ATV/UTVs on designated trails/roads and follow all state laws. Use designated ATV road crossings and use extreme caution when crossing paved roads.
Take a safety class. Although not always required by law, a lot of states offer an ATV safety course which may include: operation, safety, law, emergencies, survival, map & compass skill, basic first aid, environmental and land owner ethics.
ATV Safety Tips For Children
- Know your children. According to a 2017 study by the Consumer Product Safety Commission , it was found that of the 15,250 ATV related deaths that occurred between 1982 and 2017, 22 percent of these deaths were children under the age of 16 with 44% of these deaths being children under the age of 12. Children mature at different rates. It’s possible that some 13 year old children will have the emotional maturity to safely operate an ATV, while an immature 16 year old could be potentially dangerous to themselves and others.
- Supervise young riders. Don’t allow young riders to ride at dusk or dawn, or during times of limited visibility. Make sure all rides are skill and age appropriate. Never allow children to ride without adult supervision at all times.
- Have your child take a safety class. As listed above for adults, children will especially benefit from an ATV safety class teaching: operation, safety, law, emergencies, survival, map & compass skill, basic first aid, environmental and land owner ethics.
- Choose the right size ATV for your child. Never allow a child to ride an adult size ATV. A big fast machine could be too much temptation for immature novice riders.