Four wheels on the ground, roaring engines, and the feeling of power at your fingertips. There is something truly incredible about heading down a trail or through a mud hole on an ATV. It only gets better when your family joins you for the ride. These tips will help everyone have a blast and stay safe – ride after ride.
1) Wear a helmet, goggles and other safety gear
You may be surprised by just how much you use your brain while riding an ATV. In fact, if you don’t keep your head safe, you won’t be having any fun. Before you and your family hit the trails, make sure everyone wears a helmet – every time, no matter what.
“It’s just a short ride” is no excuse. Utah has more traumatic brain injuries among children than almost any other state in the country, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control. Sadly, ATV crashes play a major role in that statistic. Simply wearing a helmet goes a long way in keeping your family safe.
Don’t forget there is more to protective gear than just a helmet. Goggles, over-the-ankle boots, gloves, sturdy full-length pants and a long-sleeved shirt are all great at taking the punishment if you hit the ground. Make sure you are prepared. Check out the full list of protective gear before you ride.
2) Follow the rules
Contrary to popular belief, rules weren’t actually meant to be broken; they were meant to prevent injury. When riding an ATV:
- Stay off paved roads.
- Never allow more riders than the ATV is designed for.
- Make sure children don’t ride adult vehicles – provide an ATV sized for the child.
Utah Department of Health data shows that a child is 1,000 times more likely to be injured riding an ATV than riding in a car, and the risk increases the more you push the envelope. Rules are designed to keep your family safe so you can continue to have fun on the trails.
3) Know the terrain
Know where you are going and what to expect when you get there. This includes paying attention to the weather conditions and understanding the technical level of the trail. Anticipating the terrain will help riders know how to react, which will keep them safe and help them to enjoy the ride.
4) Get ATV training online
Training and ATV certification isn’t just a good idea – it’s required for anyone younger than age 16 before riding an ATV on Utah public lands. The good news is you can get rider certification from the comfort of your own home through a Utah state-approved online training course.
And for everyone, even those 16 and older, completing the certification will help you stay safe on the trail and out of the hospital. Get certified and ride responsibly. Serious fun is sure to follow!
- Multiple Riders, Lack of Helmet Use, and Faster ATVS Contribute to Pediatric Injures, American Journal of Pediatrics
- ATV injuries, deaths down, but concerns still high, USA Today