Riding ATVs is the favorite pastime of many Americans, especially during summer months. Unfortunately, it is also the hobby with the highest rates of accidents, so it is important to learn how to stay safe on your ATV. If you don’t, you might end up with unaffordable medical bills, disruptions in your employment, and worse. Sometimes, people can file a lawsuit against a responsible party. But instead of telling you how to do that, it’s better to avoid the accident altogether. Continue reading for tips on how to stay safe on your ATV.
Wear the right gear
Helmets and other protective gear are not optional. Just as you would use one riding a motorcycle, certain items are essential to your personal safety while driving an ATV. First and most importantly, of course, is the helmet. The helmet should be certified by either the U.S. Department of Transportation or the Snell Memorial Foundation (which specializes in helmet safety and research). If it is not certified by one of these entities, you should buy a new one because you can’t verify its safety standards.
Other equipment that you should wear includes:
- long-sleeve shirt
- thick jacket
- padded pants
Imagine yourself getting scraped by tree branches, or hit by loose rocks while you drive. It happens all the time. What would you hope to be wearing, should an accident occur?
Follow the passenger protocol
If you’re driving a single-rider ATV, don’t ever take a passenger. An ATV is designed with your center of gravity in mind. This design, coupled with your responsible use of the ATV, is what prevents the vehicle from flipping over. If you add another person, the center of gravity is thrown completely off, and it will no longer complement the vehicle’s design. Flips are far more likely in this case.
Although an ATV is a type of vehicle, it is not a car. They are surprisingly difficult to maneuver when driving on pavement, and other cars on the road won’t know how to handle having an ATV thrown in with them. Even if you could manage, you can never fully trust other drivers, and ATV drivers are in a particularly vulnerable position. If you get into an accident with another car, you will lose.
Use the proper ATV size
This tip is particularly important for children and teens, although it applies to adults as well. Many ATV accidents happen primarily to children who are attempting to drive an ATV that is not properly matched in size for their body height and weight.
Children under 6 should never drive an ATV. The same advice applies to teens who aren’t “adult size” yet. Although they may seem large enough or heavy enough to drive an adult-sized ATV, there is a good chance they are not. Don’t take any chances with your child or teen’s well-being.