ATV is short for ‘All-Terrain Vehicle’. These machines are designed for tackling off-road surfaces as they are equipped with four low-pressure and non-pneumatic tires that are specifically made for rough surfaces.
Hitting the trails on an ATV can be an exciting way to spend a weekend. If you’re looking for a new sport, you must try riding these compact but powerful vehicles. Apart from giving you company on an adventure, they also come in handy to plow snow, spray weed, winching, transporting materials, etc.
But before you even think of riding one of these powerful machines, it’s important to know the risks associated with it. Here is a short guide on how to maintain safety while riding an ATV.
Wear protective gear
The right protective gear can save your life, and ATV’s helmet alone reduces the risk of a fatal accident by 42 percent. To keep your body safe, it is vital to wear the following protective gear while riding:
Protective gear #1: Helmets
Granted your head is a tough nut to crack, it isn’t invincible. The extreme nature of ATV riding has crashes and accidents as part of its offering that every rider accepts every time they get onto their ride. The impacts are known to be severely damaging and in some cases, even fatal.
Protective gear #2: Eye Protection
Flying dust, tiny rocks, and debris, all of this is a common occurrence on an off road ATV track. To ensure that your eyesight is protected from the damaging elements on track and your vision is clear for the road ahead, wear good quality eye goggles.
Protective gear #3: Knee and elbow pads
Although bruises and skid marks are non fatal but can really cut deep if they are serious. Protection from this as well as impact damage reduction is possible with the use of sturdy and reliable knee and elbow Pads. These protect your joints by hardcasing them under a solid guard.
Protective gear #4: Proper protective clothing
“Dress for the job you want, not only for the one you have.” This old adage holds true even for ATV riders. It’s essential to look the part and dress like the riders whose skills feed the thrill bug in you. A part of wearing clothing that makes you look like a pro is ensuring that you opt for clothing that is built from tried and tested fabric; resistant to wear and tears of the tough tracks.
Avoid paved surfaces
ATVs are specially designed for off-roading, not highways or other paved surfaces. ATVs are extremely dangerous on public roads for the following reasons.
- ATV tires are low pressure and relatively narrow tracks. This makes them ideal for rough and shifting surfaces, but when it comes to paved surfaces, they don’t offer grip or maneuverability.
- They have a high center of gravity which allows the rider to easily pass over obstacles but when on a smooth surface, they offer poor stability and may tip over.
- Another reason why ATVs are unsuitable on public roads is that they don’t emit enough light as per the road regulations. Most of them lack turning signals, brake lights, and reversing lights. Plus their relatively small size results in poor visibility. Other drivers may not be able to see an ATV on the road which could result in a collision.
Inspect your ATV
It is always a good idea to check your vehicle before you take it out for a ride. Through regular checks, you can minimize the risk of a malfunction. Check for the following parts of the ATV-
- Gas and Oil
Take a course
If you own an ATV or are planning to buy one for yourself, take a safety course. You’ll be educated about ATVs on how to ride them and a safe place to practice. Plus, the added benefit of riding alongside professionals. If you choose to take a course locally, you can have it tailored to your area too.
Find the perfect size
If you have kids, you should probably not let them ride your average-sized ATV. Kids must ride a vehicle that is recommended as per their weight and size. The risk of kids getting hurt on ATVs can be substantially reduced just by making sure they’re riding a vehicle recommended for them.
There are specially designed ATVs for kids that tend to be smaller, and less powerful. This allows young riders to sit comfortably, and reach all the controls without stretching. The less powerful engines in these vehicles also prevent them from traveling at high speeds. Before buying your child an ATV, double-check that it’s designed for them.
If you own an ATV, we advise you to have it insured. If something should go wrong, insurance will cover the cost of accidental damage and the cost of medical treatment. This is also a good reminder that, no matter how fun they are, ATVs rides are supposed to be taken seriously.
Drive with Control
ATVs are a powerful force that needs absolute mindful presence to handle. We advise you to strictly prohibit riding under any sort of substance influence like alcohol or drugs. No matter how confident you feel about your abilities under the influence, remember that accidents happen unannounced and within seconds.
Riding Solo is Riding Safe
ATVs are built to be majorly single-rider. Do not try to experiment with trying to hop another person onto your ATV, the end result could be seriously harmful to both you and the passenger.
When it comes to two-rider ATVs, the design is meant to carry a passenger and therefore it is safe. However, ensure you restrict it to the two people only, trying to exploit the passenger seat by fitting any more than a single person can lead to riding imbalances and serious accidents.
Last but not the least
Safety is an integral part of extreme sports. The thrill of speed, rocky terrains, engine power, and everything else with the beastly ATVs are meant to be enjoyed by putting your safety on priority. Never settle on safety gear which do not meet standards and neither go riding in the absence of gear. We hope this guide allows you to ride hard and ride safe!