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ATV Safety: What to Know Before You Ride

As much as we love riding ATVs, the joy they bring does not come without risk. ATVs are one of the more dangerous outdoor activities. Each year, there are between 300 and 400 fatalities resulting from ATV accidents, and 135,000 injuries. But don’t let these statistics scare you away from off roading. Much of these accidents are due to recklessness and negligence of the users. With the proper training and education, ATVs can be used and enjoyed safely.

Below are some of our ATV and off roading safety recommendations.

1. Perform an ATV safety check/Pre-ride inspection

Faulty equipment or malfunctioning pieces can cause accidents, so it is important to get in the habit of checking your ATV before taking it out for a drive. The ATV Safety Institute has more information on what to look for, but we have also put together this graphic to help riders remember what to include in their safety checks.

2. Know the laws of your region

ATV laws vary by state and country, so make sure you are aware of the laws regarding ATV operation. Make sure you check up on your registration laws and make sure you’re all up to date.

3. Be informed of the trails

When making the trip to an ATV park or any other trails, make sure you understand the rules. Listen to trail signs and do not go on unmarked trails. If there are any “do not enter” signs or other warnings, pay attention, they are there for a reason. Additionally, it is important to never go out alone and to always let others know where you plan on going.

4. Wear the proper equipment

Make sure you are dressed appropriately in safety gear when riding an ATV. Long sleeves and long pants are important to protect against any debris and sunburn. Keep in mind that whatever you wear has a good chance of getting dirty.

Long pants are necessary for similar reasons. Some riders also suggest wearing knee pads, as this can make the ride more comfortable.

Gloves are important for good grip and are also great for protecting your hands from chafing and blisters.

Boots are recommended for riding an ATV. The most important things to look for are good traction, and waterproofing. You do not want your shoes to be slipping while riding. Picking a boot with a good grip is key.

Goggles are necessary for keeping dirt out of your eyes. They can also act as sunglasses and make the trip more comfortable. You will want to make sure your goggles are shatter proof in case of projectile debris.

Arguably the most important piece of riding equipment is the helmet. Never ride an ATV without a proper fitting helmet that is approved by the US Department of Transportation.

To wrap up, ATVs can be dangerous. But the risks can be minimized by being responsible and having a safety routine. Checking up on your equipment regularly, following the laws and regulations, knowing where you're going and never going out alone, and wearing the proper gear are the keys to safety. If you still have safety concerns, or are a first time rider, the ATV Safety Institute offers both physical and e courses on ATV safety.