ATV adventures: Tips for a safer ride

March 2, 2017

Are you ready to hit the throttle on some outdoor fun? For many people, a weekend outing on their iStock-477811328.jpgall-terrain vehicle (ATV) is a great way to rev up a good time.

Before you head out, however, it's important not to forget that these machines are powerful, fast, heavy and can easily tip over. In short, they deserve some serious respect. So along with making sure you know and follow state and local laws, check out these six tips for a safe ride:

1. Get skills. Take a training course to learn how to safely control your ATV in situations you're likely to encounter. You might ask local dealers about classes.

2. Protect your brain—and other parts. A helmet designed for motorized sports is essential safety gear—use one every time you ride. It just might save you from a severe head injury. Goggles, high boots and gloves can provide additional protection.

3. Stay off the blacktop. ATVs are difficult to control on paved roads, and collisions with cars can have deadly results.

4. Don't ride double. Unless your ATV is specifically designed for two, carrying a passenger can make it hard to safely handle your machine.

5. Keep kids safe. Many ATV crashes involve children, often while they are riding on or driving adult-sized ATVs. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises against kids younger than 16 riding on an ATV of any size—even so-called youth models with smaller engines.

6. Know your abilities. Stick with trails that match your skill level. You can get into danger in unfamiliar terrain.

Additional sources: American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine; U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission


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