Stay Safe When Riding an ATV This Winter

Posted on November 26, 2012

Even as winter weather descends on many parts of the country, here in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California, we can look forward to moderate temperatures all year long.  As such, people will take advantage of outdoor activities at every opportunities, and one of those activities is the riding of all-terrain vehicles, or ATVs.  Even though these vehicles might be fun, they hold a number of dangers that people might not fully comprehend.  Injuries and even fatalities occur in conjunction with their usage every year, and to make sure that such an accident doesn’t befall you and your family, consider following these safety tips from the Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

One of the first things you can do to protect yourself on an ATV is to prepare for what lies ahead.  That begins with training.  Conduct research online in order to find a safety course that can inform you of the proper precautions and strategies to take while driving.  You also need to know where you’re going to ride before you head out.  Riding in unknown territory is a surefire way to sustain an injury.  A path you haven’t properly vetted could contain any number of obstacles, from tree stumps to wire fences and everything in between.  Preparing ahead of time also extends to putting on the necessary equipment.  That means you should always wear boots, long sleeves, pants, gloves, and of course, a helmet that can protect your head should you be tossed from the vehicle.

Once you start riding, make sure you don’t do anything that would compromise your safety.  Since most ATVs are designed for one rider, you should respect this rule.  Driving with a passenger can imperil the safety of everyone on board.  You also need to make sure you don’t veer from unpaved trails.  Driving on gravel or pavement is not recommended due to the design of the tires, and coming into contact with these surfaces could limit your ability to control the ATV.  You also should not have your abilities impaired in any way while driving.  That means staying away from drugs or alcohol prior to riding.

When it comes to children, the best tactic might be not letting kids ride ATVs at all.  The American Academy of Pediatrics advises not letting anyone under 16 board such a vehicle.  If, however, you intend to let your child ride an ATV, then he or she needs the proper training.  When they get ready to ride, you should keep an eye on the child at all times.  Lay down ground rules, and make sure that you yourself obey these rules so that kids will follow your lead.  And finally, keep the key in a safe place where they can’t get to it.  That way, they won’t be tempted to ride without you present.

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