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Ride smart, live long - The essential guide to ATV and UTV safety

By Jean-Paul McDonald
Farms.com

All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) and Utility Task Vehicles (UTVs) are not just vehicles for adventure and utility; they are also a responsibility. With over 100,000 emergency room visits and around 650 fatalities annually in the U.S. due to ATV/UTV incidents, safety can't be overemphasized. 

While ATVs and UTVs are versatile for tasks like towing, hauling, and snow plowing, they pose significant risks. These vehicles, often weighing over 2,000 lbs., are prone to rollovers, especially on paved roads, and are not designed for passengers, making them particularly hazardous. 

To mitigate these risks, adhering to safety strategies is imperative. Wearing a helmet with good peripheral vision is crucial, particularly on ATVs. Avoiding loose clothing and ensuring that long hair is tied up can prevent entanglement in the vehicle's moving parts. It's also essential for the operator to comfortably reach and operate controls, stand upright while straddling the seat, and possess enough strength to manage the vehicle, including pushing it off if pinned underneath. 

Children under 16 should not operate adult-sized ATVs or any UTVs. Driving these vehicles on paved or public roads is a strict no-no. Safety courses are highly recommended to familiarize operators with these vehicles' nuances. 

Remember, what’s legal isn’t always safe. When riding ATVs and UTVs, it's not just about the ride; it's about riding to live. Be smart, be safe. 


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