<img style="margin: 5px; float: right;" alt="motorcycle.jpg" src="” />When they were originally introduced in the 1970s, all-terrain vehicles were three-wheeled vehicles made for use on farms and in industrial settings. However, since that time, their popularity for recreational use has increased exponentially. With the advent of 3, 4 and 6 wheelers that have higher horsepower, injuries have more than doubled since 1985. To keep from becoming a statistic yourself, make sure you are not making any of these mistakes.
Mistake 1: Failure to wear a helmet or other protective gear
Most ATV-related deaths are from head and neck injuries. Wearing a helmet reduces the possibility of a fatal head injury by 42 percent and the possibility of a non-fatal head injury by 64 percent. When purchasing your helmet, look for one that is certified by the U.S. Department of Transportation or the Snell Memorial Foundation. Additionally, to protect yourself from flying rocks or passing shrubbery/trees, wear goggles for your eyes and clothing that covers your limbs.
Mistake 2: Neglecting to take a formal hands-on-safety training class
People who have taken a formal class have a lower incidence of injuries than those who have not taken a class. Knowledge is power and can save your life or, at the least, can keep you from injury.
Mistake 3: Allowing children on adult-sized ATVs
25% of the total estimated ATV-related injuries that bring people to an emergency room happen to children under the age of 16, according to ATVsafety.gov. In Ohio, no one under 16 may legally operate an ATV unless the land where they are riding is owned by a parent or the child is accompanied by someone who is 18 years old or above.
Mistake 4: Riding 2 people on an ATV designed for 1 person
Most ATV’s in the past have been designed to carry just one person. As their name implies, an all-terrain vehicle is designed to be driven over uneven surfaces. To maintain control of the vehicle the rider must have to ability to shift his or her weight freely in all directions to compensate for the changing terrain. Unless the ATV is designed for more than one rider, multiple riders hamper the driver’s ability to react to the changing terrain.
Mistake 5: Riding on pavement
ATV’s are designed to be used in off road conditions. The low pressure of their tires makes it hard to control them on paved roads. Additionally, when riding on pavement, the likelihood of a deadly encounter with a car or truck is high.
Mistake 6: Riding while under the influence
Because of the need to be interactive to the terrain while riding your ATV, anything that impairs your judgment or reaction time, will increase the chances that you will be involved in an accident.
Armed with these “what not to dos” the Barker, Beck, Collins and Kronauge Agency hopes you enjoy your ATV experiences and above all we hope that you stay safe.