All-terrain vehicles are a great recreational investment. They let you explore and travel through almost any type of area, providing quick, easy access to places that are impractical to reach on foot. Like any vehicle, ATVs require some basic safety steps. For beginners, it is important to focus on these four areas.
Operating an ATV is fairly simple, but driving it is very different. It takes just a few minutes to learn how to start, stop, and steer the vehicle. To be safe on the trail, you need an approved training course that teaches you details about things like cornering, climbing, and descending. Many dealers offer these classes, including a hands-on driving course. Check for one near you, and complete it before riding.
Wearing Safety Gear
Along with the right way and wrong way to operate your ATV, one thing you’ll hear repeatedly in your safety class is the importance of using safety gear. While nothing will prevent every injury, an appropriate helmet, goggles, gloves, and pads will help you avoid many injuries and will reduce the seriousness of many others. Make it a habit to wear everything on every ride, no matter how brief.
Maintaining the ATV
ATVs include many safety features that can help prevent accidents, but they don’t help you if they aren’t operational. Good shocks, brakes, grips, and treads will all help you to maintain traction and control by managing speed and reducing the jarring associated with bumps and rocky areas. Inspect these features before every ride, and replace them according to manufacturer recommendations, regardless of condition.
The ATV is how you get from Point A to Point B, but your trailer is how you reach Point A to begin with. Before you head out to ride, make sure that you have made necessary trailer repairs and/or upgrades. Examine the hitch, axle, tires, tie-downs, and brake lights for proper condition and function. Also make sure that your tow vehicle is capable of pulling the load and in good condition.
The wilderness becomes a lot smaller when you can access it on an ATV. Your ability to access remote areas for fishing, hunting, camping, or simply riding around is greatly enhanced with an ATV. With proper training, equipment, and maintenance, your ATV will be a safe source of enjoyment for many years to come. Build good habits from your first ride and you’ll be assured of all the benefits of owning an ATV.