Offroading and Staying Safe – The Two Things Are Not Mutually Exclusive

An ATV is a wonderful investment for anyone who enjoys the outdoors. For those who enjoy hunting and fishing, it is very useful in getting to those hidden game trails and fishing holes. It also makes transporting any thing from that stringer of trout to a trophy buck back to your camp just that much easier. For those who like a little thrill, you can get that and still stay safe. The ATV is a wonderful way for the family to enjoy a day outdoors in any season. The issue is that you want to enjoy that outdoors time in relative safety.

In 2010, there were an estimated 115,000 injures involving all terrain vehicles treated in Emergency Rooms around the country, but by following a few, very important safety tips, your adventure can be safe, as well as fun.

These tips are geared towards beginners, but even veterans who may have become over-confident in their abilities can use a refresher course. Safety is for everyone.

The first thing to think about is choosing the right ATV for your age. Children under the age of 16 riding adult vehicles (anything above 110cc’s) double their chances of being seriously injured.

Many of the injuries sustained by riders are head injuries, so a DOT approved helmet is probably the most important piece of safety equipment. A helmet should fit snugly against your head while still being comfortable, try one on and try to insert your finger between the lining of the helmet and your forehead, it will be somewhat difficult if the fit is right.

Goggles or protective eye-wear are also very important in order to protect your eyes from not only twigs and branches, but from flying debris such as rocks and dirt thrown by other riders. Sunglasses, or even regulation safety glasses, are not adequate protection. Goggles are recommended not only because they protect the eye from the side as well as the front, and they attach to the helmet, so are much less likely to come off.

Always wear long sleeves, long pants, and over the ankle boots, such as hiking boots. This will protect you from any low hanging branches or other vegetation. A pair of gloves is also recommended. They can keep your hand from becoming sore from the vibration that comes through the handle bars, while improving your grip in wet or muddy conditions.

Avoid alcohol. Alcohol impairs judgement and slows your reaction time, two things that can mean the difference between life and death in any vehicle, but even more so when riding off road.

The best way to learn about all these things and more is to take an ATV training course. Some dealers offer a course on-site, and most will have information about local classes. You can also look online, there are several free e-courses that you can take.