As market studies show, the desire and demand to ride off-road vehicles is consistently increasing. Just like wearing sunscreen before you spend a day at the beach, there are safety precautions a rider must take before they get behind the wheel of an ATV or side-by-side.
The ATV Safety Institute recommends the following tips to improve rider safety.
1. Wear Safety Gear
Personal protective equipment is vital, even before a rider turns on the ignition. Wear protective gear such as DOT approved helmets, boots, long-sleeved shirts and goggles. Seatbelts, if available, are necessary as well. Always check with your owner’s manual to make sure you are equipped with the proper protective gear for the ride.
2. Ride Where Permitted
If you’re riding an off-road vehicle, the tires on the vehicle are designed for off-road use. Pavement can adversely affect control of the vehicle. Make sure you ride on designated trails made for off-road travel.
3. Watch Speed
Although you aren’t restricted to road rules and speed limits, maintaining control of your vehicle is crucial to rider safety. Tearing through trails in the wilderness can have negative effects on the environment and unpredictable wildlife and terrain can pose as a threat.
4. Rider Supervision
Similar to roller coasters, “keeping your arms and legs inside of the vehicle at all times” serves a purpose outside of the amusement park. Make sure the vehicle operator is of age according to the owner’s manual and children should be supervised at all times.
5. Never Ride Under The Influence
Similar to driving a car, it goes without question that driving sober is the safest. Drugs and alcohol can impair reaction time and judgment; do not operate vehicles under the influence.