Although they’re plenty of fun, ATVs come with certain risks that require some consideration. The sad fact is that hundreds of thousands of people are injured every year because of ATVs. More than 700 people are actually killed. Perhaps even more shocking, a third of these deaths happened to minors below the age of 16! The fact is, ATVs are powerful machines with a high potential to cause you harm – so read up before you go for a ride!
The short answer: no. ATVs are not actually designed to be used on any terrain you might come across. They are designed for using off of main paved roads, sure, but even this has its limits. Know the area you are riding on, especially when you travel outside of the greater San Antonio area. You still need to follow safety rules, even though they’re not on the actual roads.
ATVs aren’t designed like cars or other on-road vehicles. They don’t have seatbelts, roll bars, or safety cages, and their higher center of gravity means that rollovers occur easily. Although ATVs are generally smaller than cars, they still weigh 800 pounds or more – more than enough to crush you.
There’s no driver’s ed for ATVs, and most states allow older kids and young teens to drive them. If these young drivers are not carefully introduced to this responsibility, it is a recipe for disaster. ATVs are sometimes difficult to control, especially at high speeds. Rollovers and collisions are not at all uncommon.
If you let your son or daughter go on an ATV ride, you should be sure that they know exactly what the safety precautions are. Watch over them as they are first learning to operate the vehicle so you can verify they know what they’re doing. Although the only sure-fire way of keeping your child safe from an ATV accident is keeping him or her from riding one in the first place, properly teaching them about ATV safety is the next best thing.
Plenty of the dangers that go with driving an ATV are preventable. You should always wear protective gear and a helmet while riding an ATV. Driving after drinking alcohol, speeding, climbing hills, and other reckless behavior are often to blame for ATV accidents. Always be smart. An ATV is not a toy – it’s a powerful machine. Treat it like one.
Another way problems can occur is when two or more people are riding on one ATV. ATVs are designed to be ridden by just one driver. A passenger can be thrown from the vehicle much more easily than the driver, or they may just fall off because the seat is not designed to hold two or more riders. Never take your friend on a ride with you.
While rare, sometimes a malfunctioning or defective part can cause an ATV accident. If any part of your ATV malfunctions, it could create an extremely dangerous situation for you. In case this does happen to you, be sure to check into filing a product liability claim, since the manufacturer is probably at fault.
Sometimes another person (i.e. another ATV driver) will be the cause of your accident. If you believe this is the case, you may want to look into pursuing legal action and hire a personal injury attorney with experience in ATV accident cases.
In any case, you need to make sure you are (at minimum) following the laws that are in place. If you don’t know the laws in your area regarding ATVs, you should educate yourself before taking your first ride. While ATVs can be extremely dangerous when used incorrectly, plenty of people value the fun over the potential risks. As long as you take every safety precaution seriously, you can significantly decrease the risks. Where there’s less risk, there’s more fun.