ATV/UTV riding tips
Whether for sport or for working on the farm, an ATV or UTV is a fun rig to drive. It can also make you miserable if you’re not paying attention to safety precautions.
Steve Nessl is a marketing manager with Yamaha. He says it’s very important to be dressed for the ride so the off-road environment doesn’t take a bite out of you.
"That’s a head-to-toe type of thing. You want to have a helmet on, you want to have something to protect your eyes. For a lot of people that wear glasses that can suffice, but if not, something a little more substantial, goggles," says Nessl. "Wear long sleeves and gloves, you never know when a tree branch or something is going to jump out and try to tag you, and long pants. Over the ankle boots, especially if you’re on an ATV because that’s a rider-active vehicle and you’re moving around on it and if you have tennis shoes on or something flimsy, it’s kind of like if you played basketball. You want some ankle support."
Off-highway riding gear is always the safest alternative and gives you the best protection. Other safety elements lie with the vehicle itself.
"Seat belts are super important when you’re in a UTV. They come standard, make sure you’re wearing it. If you’re a passenger, there’s a hand-hold area, use that as well," says Nessl. "Some of the elements that you might not think about, floor boards are huge for the purpose of bracing yourself and having a place for your foot where you can get traction. If you’re going downhill, or you’re going through a rut or over a log, you can find some comfort and some security in having your feet firmly planted and bracing yourself along with that handhold up at the hand level."
Always inspect the vehicle’s tires, lights, and other systems before heading out to make sure everything is in good working condition.
Know the environment you’re driving in, and don’t drive faster than the conditions allow. It sounds cliché, but if you head into a turn at 50-miles-per-hour, it’s probably not going to end well.
Find more tips for off-road vehicle safety
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