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May 13th, 2014
ATVs, Fun, Good for You, but Still Dangerous

Every spring, summer and fall, tens of thousands of Canadians from 4 year olds to seniors hit the dirt trails on ATV’s and dirt bikes.

We have some tips to help you avoid becoming part of the sad statistic that overshadows the off-road community.

All Terrain Vehicles are commonly used on golf courses, parks, and farms where they’re essential transportation. But that’s off road. When they’re used in rough, hilly terrain, they are an exciting experience for riders, especially younger riders.

Reports show that off road motoring is good for families and individuals. It’s fun, increases confidence and coordination, and even lowers blood pressure. No one is suggesting ATVs are evil, however the accidents and injuries in using them is alarming. Hundreds of deaths and thousands of terrible injuries happen annually.

Everyone Loves their ATV

 

ATVs are Very Popular

50% of all off highway vehicles being sold today are 4 wheeled all-terrain vehicles. The new models are bigger and more powerful and some can actually reach highway speeds. Since drivers and passengers aren’t belted in, and since ATVs can rollover relatively easy, they can be pretty dangerous. The big, low pressure tires also make handling a little shaky, so driving faster increases crash risk significantly.

Driving ATVs on major highways is illegal, however in many municipalities, it is legal to drive on certain roads. There has been a push to train drivers but so far there’s no evidence to suggest that such training makes better drivers. It could be in the nature and design of ATVs that they are simply dangerous. More education of parents might help a lot of youngsters from learning the hard way with serious injury.

Nasty Stats

 ATV Driving Tips

  • Read manufacturer’s guidelines for use
  • Always wear a helmet
  • Be aware of the terrain you might be driving into
  • Avoid extremely steep terrain
  • Constant supervision of any child under 16
  • Zero alcohol consumption
  • No stunt driving
  • No driving on streets
  • Get expert operating instruction
  • No passengers if driving fast
  • Always drive with two hands
  • No operating smartphones or cameras while driving
  • Wearing pants, long sleeve shirts, and elbow pads is wise
  • Wear goggles when driving fast or through bush
  • Use a tall antenna if you’re driving with others using ATVs
  • Test your brakes after coming out of water
  • Stop, look both ways and give yourself plenty of time to cross any roadway
  • Stay away from horses and wild animals
  • When tired, stop riding

ATVs provide a healthy, fun outlet for Canadians, but many drive their machines on rough terrain with hills, potholes, and bush presenting real driving challenges. Ensure your kids are aware of the dangers and avoid seeing them suffer a devastating injury.

Your kids look to you for guidance, even though they seem to ignore you. Insist on helping them learn safely and the only memory you’ll have is of a fun family outing.

If older teens and  young adults operate these machines while under the influence, the results could be disastrous.  On the roads, the lure of various distractions while driving leave many in this group prone to accidents and thus higher insurance rates.  You can certainly learn to drive a vehicle more safely on the road, and even on the trails, there are certain limitations of ATVs and dirt bikes that should be understood.  Have a safe trip to your ATV’ing destination and enjoy your time spent having fun!

 

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