Before you get on your ATV, the most important thing to do is familiarize yourself with safe operating habits. These eight tips are among the most important things you should know to keep yourself and others safe during your next off-road adventure.
1. Make sure you have proper safety gear
First things first. Before you even think about driving your ATV, make sure you’re ready with all the right safety gear. You need a helmet approved by the Department of Transportation (DOT), eye goggles, and gloves. If you’re not sure if your helmet is approved, check the maker’s website. It’s also a good rule of thumb to wear long sleeves and pants while riding to help protect your skin.
2. If your ATV isn’t meant to have a passenger, then ride by yourself
Most ATVs are designed to hold only one person. Unless you have a two-person ATV, don’t let a passenger ride with you. It’s a risk to your safety and theirs. The excess weight of an extra rider makes your vehicle more likely to tip, potentially injuring you and your passenger.
3. Ride with a group
When you’re ready to hit the road on your ATV, call a friend or family member who has one, too. It adds to the fun, and if you run out of gas or have an accident while you’re off the beaten path, you’ll have someone there to help you out.
4. Avoid driving on public roads
Most states prohibit driving an ATV on public roads. These laws exist to keep ATV, car, and motorcycle drivers safe. Since ATVs can be harder to spot than a typical car or motorcycle, stick to designated off-road trails for your safety.
5. Leave the tricks to the pros
We get it—tricks look fun and pretty easy to pull off. But, they’re not. The athletes you see doing tricks on the X Games go through an extensive amount of training to complete them. Without that training—and sometimes with it, too—you’re likely to hurt yourself. For your safety, keep your ATV on all four wheels at all times.
6. Know your state’s laws
Each state has different regulations regarding where you can ride an ATV, plus requirements for age of operators, insurance, licensing, and more. Check your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles site to learn more about what your state requires of you as an ATV owner.
7. Take a safety course
The best way to learn how to ride safer is to take a safety course. No brainer, right? The ATV Safety Institute offers a variety of safety courses for riders of all skill levels that can be taken in-person or online. This will help you learn about tools and ways to help keep yourself and others safe while you’re operating your ATV.
8. Carry the right insurance
Carrying the right insurance for you, whether your state requires it or not, can save you a lot of money in the long run. Insurance can help you if your ATV is damaged or stolen, or if you or someone else is injured in an ATV accident. Contact your local agent today to learn more about what ATV insurance coverages may be right for you.