If you own an all-terrain vehicle or are thinking of purchasing an ATV, it is imperative that you know how to operate the vehicle safely, to protect yourself and others.
So, check out the following safe driving tips.
Always Take Your Phone with You
You should always make sure you take your cell phone with you when operating an ATV so that you can call for help should you be involved in an accident.
That is particularly important if you are heading out to a rural area by yourself.
If you are involved in an accident, make sure you seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even if you do not have any visible injuries, you could have something unnoticeable like internal bleeding or a traumatic head injury with no symptoms, so never skip getting checked out by a medical professional.
And if you are injured in an ATV accident that is not your fault, make sure you consult an experienced ATV accident lawyer, as you may be able to pursue compensation.
Keep Your Limbs Close to Your Body
When driving an ATV, you should always keep your arms and legs close to your body.
If your limbs are not tucked inside the vehicle, you could be unexpectedly injured when brushing against tree branches, for example.
Always make sure you look out for potential hazards like branches, too.
Go Up and Down Slopes with Caution
ATVs are designed for going up and down slopes, but you still need to take extra caution when traversing slopes to ensure you remain safe.
If you want to drive uphill, slide forward so that your torso is over the front wheels. Then shift into a lower gear and start the ascent and gently throttle in order to maintain momentum.
When going down a slope, shift your weight to the rear. Then, use a low gear, maintain a slow speed, and brake gradually.
Take Extra Precautions When Driving in the Dark
When operating your ATV in the dark, it is crucial that you remember to slow down.
You should also never overdrive your headlights. You should be able to stop within the length of the beam.
Furthermore, to travel safely in the dark, you should only travel in familiar areas, ensure your headlights work properly before heading off, carry a flashlight with you in case of emergency, and wear reflective apparel so that others can see you.
Stay off Paved Roads
If you think it is safe to travel along paved roads in your ATV, think again.
Paved surfaces can adversely affect the handling of ATVs and if the vehicles are driven too fast on paved roads, accidents can potentially occur.
Furthermore, the deeply grooved tires and low pressure of ATVs are not designed for anything but off-road use.
So, stay safe and keep your ATV in good condition by only traveling off-road.
Load and Tow Cargo Correctly
If you are using your ATV to tow cargo, you need to take additional safety precautions.
First and foremost, make sure you check the owner’s manual to ensure the trailer you intend to use is rated for towing with your specific ATV.
You also need to make sure that you load items into the trailer correctly, such as ensuring the weight is evenly distributed, and that you do not overload the trailer. Even slight overloading can make steering and stopping unsafe.
Also, tie down the cargo to avoid shifting when braking or turning.
And when slowing in your ATV, downshift and use the engine to help slow it down.
Furthermore, make sure you avoid braking suddenly. If you brake suddenly, your ATV could potentially overturn.