Most people associate ATV riding with fun and, more often than not, these vehicles are used for spare time activities that involve exploring new places, simply having a ride, and, why not, racing a bit with one of your competitive friends.
However, if certain safety measures are not taken, what was supposed to be fun might turn out to be an event you will regret. Therefore, to make sure the time you spend on your four-wheeler is safe, you need to take some precautions. Check out this article to learn more about the dos and don’ts of ATV riding.
Ride the appropriate vehicle
As simple as that might sound, it is actually one of the first things you need to keep in mind before embarking on an ATV journey. ATVs come with certain specifications, so you will find different types of ATVs ranging from youth models designed for children and teens to entry-level four-wheelers, sport/utility ATVs, and high-performance ATVs.
Unfortunately, many ATV riders inappropriately switch from one model to another or use their ATVs on terrains their vehicles were not designed for. This increases the risk of accidents, which can sometimes be deadly. Try to know more about the ATV type that best suits your age, experience, and the terrain you will use it for before buying.
For example, youth models were designed to provide young riders with increased safety, and thus usually come with an engine that will stop if the rider falls off. This will prevent the person riding the vehicle from being dragged with it.
If your vehicle is designed for off-road riding, then make sure you use it only for that. Don’t operate or ride it on public roads as they were designed for a specific type of terrain and, therefore, will not provide you with the safety and/or performance you need when riding on public roads.
Once you’ve chosen the right ATV for you, you need to make sure you also use the right gear. This step, just like the previous one, is mandatory. No appropriate safety gear, no riding. That should be your motto if you want to enjoy your ride safely.
Never ride without your safety helmet. Thanks to today’s market, you will find many models that offer different levels of protection. If possible, it is recommended to use a full-face helmet that is both DOT and Snell Foundation approved. Such a helmet will protect both your face and your head and will stop small particles from getting inside your helmet.
The interior padding and the exterior materials used are of paramount importance as well if you want to be as healthy and safe after your riding session as you were before it.
In case you’re not comfortable with a full-face helmet or the type of ATV riding you intend to engage in is less adventurous, you still need to take precautions. You can go for an open face helmet but get a pair of goggles to protect your eyes from debris and dust. Such an item should allow you to see clearly, though, as reduced visibility can prove to be quite dangerous.
Don’t forget to use a pair of quality gloves. They will not only protect your hands from scratches but they will also get you a better grip on the handlebars. You need to feel and grip the handlebars with ease in order to ensure a safe operation. Complete your safety gear with a pair of over-the-ankle boots to provide your feet, ankles, and legs with the needed protection.
Long-sleeved shirts and long pants are also needed and recommended if you want minimal protection. ATV stores usually offer protective gear, too, so check out their offer to get the best as far as protection is concerned.
Riding with a safety-conscious mind
Unfortunately, ATV riding is frequently associated with weekend or holiday fun and many times all that involves alcohol as well. One thing you need to commit to your memory is that alcohol/drugs and ATV riding simply do not match. You might use the right type of ATV and the best protective gear yet if your mind is affected by the use of such substances, safety is no longer guaranteed.
Riding smart is the safest way to ride and that includes all of the above-mentioned safety precautions as well as a clear and substance-free mind. You want to get home safe, therefore, you can have that glass of wine or beer after you’ve done riding.
ATVs are usually designed for a single rider. Respect that rule if such is the case of your vehicle. Don’t allow more people on the vehicle while riding. Plus, try to avoid riding after dark even if your ATV has lights as you can hardly see terrain features that might cause a crash when riding in low-light conditions.
Also, keep your vehicle’s speed low, especially if you ride after dark. Feed your high speed-related needs only when you have taken all the safety measures we have mentioned above and the terrain allows for that.
If you’re new to ATV riding, you can learn more about how to drive safely and the regulations regarding this type of activity by taking a safety course. Thanks to today’s technological achievements, you can do that from the very comfort of your home.
You can thus take an online off-road safety course that is approved by the state agencies that are responsible for teaching ATV riders how to ride safely. Such courses should provide you with the same material that is taught in classrooms.
Also, get familiarized with your vehicle before engaging in more adventurous riding. Know your ATV’s limitations as well as your own limitations related to your riding experience and even physical capacities. ATV riding should be an activity that will help you relax and disconnect from your daily responsibilities. Still, it should not be a hobby that you treat superficially.