Unique among motor sports, driving all-terrain vehicles combines an exhilarating workout with a test of maneuvering skills and a hearty dose of adrenaline. Fun as it is though, it can be a risky activity. So, take a systematic approach to keeping things safe before, during and after your outings.
Before You Go
- Take a Course. Formal hands-on training courses cover how to control ATVs in commonplace situations. The ATV Safety Institute typically offers its ATV Rider Course free to anyone who buys a new qualifying machine from an institute member. Call 1-800-887-2887 or visit atvsafety.org for class information.
- Dress for Success. A motorcycle or other motorized sports helmet, certified by the U.S. Department of Transportation, is a must. You’ll also want to suit up with over-the-ankle boots and long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, goggles and gloves.
- Remember Insurance. Riding on state-owned land? PA and many other states require ATV insurance, which offers coverage options similar to what’s available for motorcycles – liability, comprehensive, collision, safety apparel replacement, roadside assistance and more.
During the Ride
- Don’t Share the Seat. You’ll want to be free to shift your weight according to the terrain and the situation. Passengers make it difficult – and dangerous.
- Stay Off the Road. ATVs simply aren’t street-legal machines, at least not in most states. The solid rear axle with no differential means they can be hard to handle on pavement.
- Let Kids Be Kids. Children should never be allowed to drive or ride on an adult ATV. Someone under 16 on an adult ATV is twice as likely to sustain an injury as a child riding a youth ATV, according to ATVSafety.gov.
After the Outing
Wait to Celebrate. This is when you get to unwind with a cold one, not before. You need sharp reaction time and judgment, so don’t ever drive ATVs under the influence of alcohol or drugs.