An all-terrain vehicle (ATV), also known as a quad bike, four-wheeler, or quadricycle, is a 4-wheeled sport utility vehicle designed for off-road use and typically utilised for tourism recreation activities, farm-work and competitive racing.
While ATVs are fun to ride and only take a bit of practice time to master, it is important to be well versed in ATV safety. Like any motorized vehicle, there is always the potential for serious bodily injury, which makes preventative action essential. Here are some helpful tips for staying safe while riding an ATV.
Wear Specialized Protective Gear
The first tip is to always wear safety gear that is appropriate for riding ATV’s. The most important safety gear is the helmet. A full-face helmet offers the highest degree of protection, but any properly rated helmet will suffice.
Next, it is important to wear riding boots to maintain a strong grip on the pedals and to prevent injury in the event of a crash. It is also helpful to wear other protective gear such as elbow and kneepads. Competitive ATV racers also wear specialized gear that includes full body armour built into the clothing.
While protecting your head is the first priority, and protecting the rest of your body is important, protecting your vision is essential. A good pair of safety goggles is essential because off-road trails often meander through forests where low hanging branches and dirt kicked up by the ATV ahead of you pose a threat to your eyesight.
Riding ATVs is always a risk and everyone crashes at least once. It’s only the severity of the crash that varies and wearing protective gear will make a big difference to the outcome.
Carry a First-Aid Kit
Now that we’ve covered protective gear, the next tip concerns your safety after an accident has occurred, and for that, a first-aid kit is essential. When riding an ATV, you’ll most likely be in a remote wilderness area far from a hospital and if a crash were to occur it could take some time to get medical assistance. Broken bones can lead to an artery being severed and rapid loss of blood. For this reason, a tourniquet and splints should form part of your first aid kit. Most ATV’s have enough storage space in the rear compartment or carrier platform to secure a reasonably sized first aid bag.
Bring a Compact Toolkit
That leads us to the next tip that also involves the storage compartment – a toolkit. This is an easily overlooked item but a compact toolkit can go a long way when you are miles down a trail in the wilderness and need to perform an ATV repair. Having a good set of wrenches, screwdrivers, and some replacement parts are invaluable when you find yourself in need of them.
It is also worth noting that some essentials can be stored along with your first aid and toolkit such as water and dry food. Other common items that can be worth storing include a blanket, a solar charging battery, a cheap cell phone, an emergency GPS beacon, and a radio. With these items in the ATV storage compartment, you will be equipped to handle almost anything that comes your way.
Now that the physical components of ATV safety have been touched on, let’s talk about some safety that involves being proactive. It is important to practice good safety tactics and that means not riding on public roads. Most ATV’s for sale are designed to be ridden off-road and not on public roadways where other vehicles are in use. It is important to abide by the law and only ride in places where it is legally permissible to do so.
Last but not least, it is important to never ride alone. It may seem like a childish rule but if you follow this rule, your odds of experiencing a fatal accident significantly drop if the buddy system is applied. That way if one of you crash and need help, there is someone to help with first aid and get you to the nearest emergency medical service.
Practice these general rules of ATV safety and you can have peace of mind on your off-road trips.