With autumn just around the corner, there's arguably no better time to dust off your ATV and enjoy the great outdoors in the cool, pleasant weather. Although your focus might be on fun, it's important to never overlook the risk of this activity. More than 150,000 people are injured each year in ATV accidents, which means that you must put a heavy emphasis on safety to reduce your risk of being a statistic. Here are four ways to keep safe when you're driving an ATV.
Wear The Right Gear
People who don't respect the danger of riding an ATV can hop on this powerful machine without the appropriate safety gear, which puts them at risk of an injury. You can work to keep yourself safe by committing to always wearing the right gear to protect your head, torso and limbs. A helmet and goggles are imperative, but you should also ideally wear a protective vest, wrist guards, elbow pads, knee pads and sturdy boots.
Know Your Route
While it can be thrilling to explore new terrain, you can increase your chance of staying safe by familiarizing yourself with your route. Doing so reduces the risk of driving at an unsafe speed and approaching hazards of which you aren't aware. Talking to fellow riders, meticulously studying trail maps and even joining a local trail-riding message board online can help you get acquainted with the routes you plan to take on your ATV.
Consider The Weather
You might feel that the weather isn't a concern when you're wearing the proper safety gear, but rain and even heavy winds can rapidly change the conditions of the trails you ride. Rain can make an otherwise familiar trail slippery and unpredictable, while heavy winds can knock over dead trees and create unexpected obstacles in your path. Even if the weather is fine on the day that you plan to ride, it's important to take note of how the conditions have been over the past few days.
Don't Drive Distracted
Just as driving your car while distracted is risky, you shouldn't let anything pull your focus away from the task at hand when you're on your ATV. While it might be tempting to watch other riders or use a sports camera to capture your adventure, don't let outside factors distract you. Pledge to maintain 100 percent focus as soon as you climb on your vehicle for a day of riding.