While, usually, you would be tempted to believe that UTV can’t be driven on the public roads, due to legal restrictions, the truth is that, by adding certain accessories, you can turn it into a vehicle that you can use just like any car. However, there are several things you should know before opting for this solution.
It is not impossible to make your UTV street legal
The first thing people must know is that more and more states create the necessary legislation for allowing drivers to use their UTVs on public roads. With the rising popularity of such vehicles, legal requirements also become a reality since, without them, it wouldn’t have been possible at all to take your UTV for a trip outside the allowed perimeters.
There are many reasons why people want to drive their UTVs on public roads. For instance, if you need to take your UTV for a check-up at a local garage, you won’t have to use another vehicle for taking it there. Another reason is the awesome convenience offered by UTVs. Whether you want to take a short trip to the grocery store or meet somewhere with your friends, your UTV can take you there.
Understanding the legal process
As mentioned a bit earlier, your UTV can become street legal, but there are legal restrictions in place. That said, your first actual step would be to become aware of what the state laws where you live are in regards to driving a UTV on public roads.
The laws in this regard are pretty straightforward, and they mainly refer to the accessories you must add to your vehicle to make it street legal. Such accessories can be purchased from the market, and they are not particularly expensive. Even more, some stores sell kits that contain all the needed extras that you must use to equip your UTV for such a purpose.
Also, it is essential to understand that what is required for UTVs is not the same as what the law states about various other vehicles. Therefore, do not think that you could randomly apply the same requirements for UTVs, too.
Local laws are the most important
Local laws are essential for making your UTV street legal, and you should know well that what is legal in one state may not be in another. Therefore, you should first check the local legislation in your area so that you know exactly what the law says about what accessories are needed for turning your UTV into a vehicle you can safely drive on public roads.
For instance, if you live in Arizona, Utah, or Wyoming, the entire process is pretty simple. These are the states well known for having clear and easy to implement laws regarding the use of UTVs on public roads. On the other hand, some states don’t allow this at all, which is why you should never skip the necessary step of checking your local legislation.
Where can you read about such laws?
To be informed on the laws governing the use of UTVs on public roads, you will have to read them online, as most of them are available there. Also, a solution is to call the local DMV and ask for additional information.
Don’t neglect the many online forums, where people can offer guidance in regards to the steps they undertook to turn their UTVs into street-legal vehicles. While you should always double-check such information, it can be a great starting point. Furthermore, you can check the local UTV clubs where you might find more about such details.
What accessories are usually necessary?
For making your UTV legal to drive on public roads, several accessories are typically written down in the legislation where such a thing is possible. To license the vehicle for using it like this, there are certain modifications required and, as you may well expect, you will need to add some accessories for that.
We will show you here some information on the accessories that are commonly included by the legislation. We must stress, however, the importance of checking with your local laws to see if the same rules apply. Some states may require more or fewer accessories, but, to be well informed, the following indications are a good start.
First things first, your UTV should come equipped with a headlight with the capacity of using a high and a low beam, depending on road conditions. Another accessory that should not be amiss is a taillight. As a motorist, you are expected to be able to signal your presence to the other drivers, so such things are crucial.
Add to these a brake light and a rear reflector. Other things your UTV must have are turn signals. As you can see, they all cater to the same need of making your visible to the other motorists and of helping you signal what your intentions are when you want to turn and execute other maneuvers.
You will also need to have mirrors, for checking if other vehicles are coming from behind, a horn, for obvious reasons, mud flaps and a speedometer. Usually, local laws also recommend the use of windshield – which might not be needed if you wear eye protection – as well as a lighted license plate, another necessity for any motorist.
What are ‘street legal kits’?
While you can purchase all the components mentioned above for your UTV, a more convenient option is to get a street-legal kit. This type of product usually comes with all the accessories required by the legislation, making things easy for you.
However, you must bear in mind that you will still need to pay attention to what the law in your state demands. On the upside, many kits – and accessories – are not challenging to install, and you don’t have to be a mechanic to do that. Some kits may be easier than others to install, so it serves to run a bit of research before making a decision.
Are there other things you must bear in mind?
In case you live in a state where driving your UTV on public roads is allowed, and you succeeded in appointing your vehicle with all the needed accessories, there are still a few things you should remember. All the following recommendations depend on your local laws, but they can be used as a starting point.
For instance, you should be aware that your UTV will have to be inspected for safety. In some areas, even an emissions inspection might be required.
Also, you must have proper insurance for the type of vehicle you drive. After all, just like any motorist, you might end up involved in an accident, and you must know what liabilities are covered and what kind of insurance you should get for your UTV.
Another thing to bear in mind is that you must have a valid driver’s license. The good thing is that no one would require a motorcycle endorsement, but it is always a good idea to ask the local DMV about such aspects.
For your side-by-side, you must have insurance, and another thing to remember is that side-by-side is not always allowed or everywhere. In areas where there are strict speed limits, and the population is scarce, side-by-side might be forbidden.
Are you ready to make your UTV street legal?
Now you are equipped with all the needed information on how to make your UTV street legal. As you can see, the process is not particularly difficult, and the accessories you must purchase for your vehicle are not expensive.
Keep in mind that you must check the local laws regarding the turning of your UTV into a street-legal vehicle. Also, it is useful to search for online resources, such as forums, and to contact the UTV clubs in your areas that could provide you with the necessary guidance.
The most important thing to remember is that turning your UTV street legal is not impossible unless it is strictly forbidden in your state. If you have the green light from the local authorities, you can take your UTV for trips around the city without a problem.