Whether you’re just starting to think about doing an ATV tour or you recently experienced one, it’s probably got you thinking more about ATV ownership. These powerful machines are fun in all sorts of landscapes outside of the desert, but with serious power comes serious responsibility. To help reduce your risk of accident or injury, we’ve compiled a list of safety tips that will refresh your memory or introduce you to the subject.
Wear Protective Gear
It might seem like a no-brainer to tell you that ATV accidents can cause brain injuries, but there are still people out there riding without helmets!
All helmets are not created equal, and you’ll need one specifically designed for motorcycle or motorsport usage. NEVER buy a used helmet. Prior trauma can make them less effective, and if you can’t afford a new helmet, you can’t afford an ATV. When you’re helmet shopping, make sure to try on several brands to see which has the best fit and comfort for your specific head shape. If your helmet doesn’t have a visor, wear goggles while operating your ATV along with sturdy footwear.
Take A Training Course
You probably took driver’s training before you drove a car, so why not take the same approach to ATV driving? Not only can professional instruction make learning to use an ATV easier and safer, it’s also a good way to test out your passion before you spend money on your own vehicle. If you’ve got kids, this approach sets a great example, and gives you the moral high ground to ask them to be conscientious when it comes to safety.
Another benefit to taking a training course is that it usually helps you get discounts on ATV insurance. In most states, insurance is required for ATVs operated off of private property, so be sure to do your research and add insurance into estimated costs before making the jump to becoming an ATV owner.
Don’t Drive It To The Store
You might think it’s fun to drive your ATV to the corner store, but these machines aren’t street-legal in most states. Even if they were legal, the straight rear axle in most ATVs makes them difficult to control on paved roads. Save the ATVs for the wilderness!
Don’t Let The Kids Drive
Even if they’re wearing proper safety gear, children driving adult ATVs are much more likely to cause or be injured in accidents. Many ATV manufacturers, including Polaris, make specific youth models designed for younger drivers at the helm, and this is the safest way for young riders to learn the sport.
Another no-brainer. Drugs and alcohol slow your reaction time and decrease your inhibitions. While this might be fun at a party, it’s a recipe for disaster when you’re operating any kind of motor vehicle. If you’re on an ATV trip, make a group agreement that the beer waits until after the last ride of the day, when you can all toast to your safety.
Like anything worth doing, ATV ownership is worth doing right. By following these safety tips, your off-roading experience is much more likely to be a safe one.