All-terrain vehicles, more commonly known as ATVs, are a fun way to explore nature, get an adrenaline rush and discover the great outdoors of Pennsylvania. But ATVs can be incredibly dangerous, and ATVSafety.gov reports that in 2011, there were 327 reported deaths as well as an additional 107,500 estimated emergency room-treated injuries from ATV-related crashes.
If you are the owner of an ATV or if you ride or plan to ride on an ATV, refer to these 10 safety tips before heading out on your next escapade:
1. Wear Protective Gear
Protective gear is one of the most essential aspects of keeping you and your loved ones safe while riding. Make sure you always wear gloves, boots that offer protection for feet and ankles, long-sleeved shirts and long pants to protect your skin, eye protection, and a helmet. The helmet is the most important part of your protective gear and should fit snugly, fasten completely and meet safety standards dictated by the Department of Transportation.
2. Check the Air Pressure of Your Tires
Before heading out on your ride, always inspect your ATV’s tire pressure. Both over- and under-inflation can damage tires and contribute to the likelihood of an accident.
3. Inspect Your Controls
ATVs have a variety of controls that are essential to the vehicle’s function. As such, before you head out on your ride, make sure you check your throttle and cables, brakes, and foot shifter. If any of these controls aren’t working properly, you may have limited vehicle control and increase the chances of being involved in an accident.
4. Carry Tools
Your ATV or daypack should be equipped with a tool kit in the event that a problem with your ATV does occur. The tool kit should include small spare parts, the tools that came with your ATV and some emergency items, like a rope in case you have to pull a stuck ATV out of a ditch or other area.
5. Bring a First-Aid Kit
Whenever you head out for a ride, pack a first-aid kit. According to the American Red Cross, a basic first-aid kit should include compress dressings, Band-Aids, cloth tape, bandages, antiseptic ointment and wipes, gauze pads, hydrocortisone ointment packets, tweezers, scissors, and an instruction booklet.
6. Maintain Correct Riding Posture
Your riding posture is one of the most important aspects of keeping you safe on your ATV. According to the ATV Safety Institute, correct riding posture means keeping your head and eyes up, keeping shoulders relaxed and elbows bent slightly out, keeping hands on the handlebars, keeping knees turned inwards, and keeping feet on the footrests with toes pointing straight ahead.
7. Know Your Terrain
Adventuring into terrain with which you are unfamiliar is never a good idea when you are on an ATV. Knowing the land on which you are riding is essential to staying safe. Always use existing trails and watch out for obstacles or unsafe areas.
8. Exercise Extra Caution in Mud, Water, Sand Dunes and Snow
If you are riding in inclement weather or adverse conditions, it’s important that you exercise even more caution than normal. Be aware that wet conditions can cause footrests to become slippery and can affect the control of the vehicle, as can variables such as shifting sand.
9. Ride With Another Person
A golden rule of ATV safety is never to ride alone. Always have a set plan prior to riding and always ride with at least one other person. Provide a non-rider with information about where you are going and how long you plan to be gone.
10. Ride Responsibly
Never operate an ATV while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Not only is doing so illegal, but it is also incredibly dangerous for both yourself and others.
If You Have Been Injured
If you have been injured in an accident involving an ATV, you may be entitled to damages from the liable party. The attorneys at Cordisco & Saile LLC can provide you with more information about what types of compensation you may be eligible to recover. To get started filing your claim, call us today at 215-642-2335.