How to Play it Safe on Your ATV
ATVs can be fun to drive, but when safety precautions are missed, injuries are all too often part of the territory.
Don’t be in such a hurry to hit the trails on your ATV that you forget put safety gear on, or you skip it because you think it will be too hot or too bulky. Unfortunately, when ATV safety precautions are ignored injuries can—and do—occur. As of December 31, 2018, the Consumer Products Safety Commission received reports of 264 ATV-related fatalities and an estimated 81,800 ATV-related injuries treated in emergency rooms. You can avoid some of the danger with these simple safety precautions.
Get Geared Up for Safety
ATVs are designed to drive through rough terrain, which is one reason they are so popular, but this can cause mud, rocks, sand and other debris can fly up and damage your eyes and skin. Very quickly you will realize you should be wearing eye protection (like goggles) long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. You should never wear shorts or short-sleeved shirts when riding an ATV. Other important gear:
- Helmets – It should go without saying but the most obvious piece of safety equipment for any ATV rider is a helmet. You never know when you will hit something and go flying off your ATV. A helmet can provide the protection you need to avoid a traumatic brain injury.
- Boots – ATV boots can help protect your ankles, toes and legs from injuries and protect your legs from scratches you can get if you ride through heavy brush or sand.
- Gloves – For your own comfort, you should wear gloves with padding to help protect your hands from soreness and blisters.
Other Safety Tips
- Take an ATV safety training course
- Don't allow passengers unless it's a dual-passenger ATV
- Don't allow a child to drive an adult-sized ATV
- Don't drive an ATV on paved roads
- Don't drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Avoid hills that are too steep for your ATV
- Keep your body weight forward
- Keep your speed appropriate for conditions
A little common sense can go a long way when operating an ATV. Don't be so anxious to get to the fun that you forget safety. One accident can ruin what would have otherwise been a fun day.