Riding an ATV can be fun, but also very dangerous if the proper safety riding practices are not performed. Many people are killed every year as a result of ATV crashes. Teenagers are the least likely to practice safe riding and therefore most prone to avoidable accidents. However, it is important that any experienced or first time rider, young or old, ride ATVs with caution. Equally important is that you follow your states' off road riding laws

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Follow the advice below when riding an ATV:

Drivers only the age of 17 should operate an ATV
It is more common for younger drivers to be injured in an ATV accident as a result of their inexperienced driving abilities. Even once a child turns 17, they should be supervised by an adult when operating an ATV.

One vehicle = one rider
ATVs are meant for only one rider. Having two riders on a vehicle is extremely dangerous. In addition, the weight of two people on an ATV can result in the vehicle becoming unstable and flipping over.

Wear the proper protective gear
As with any power sport, you should wear protective gear when operating an ATV. The most important gear is a helmet. The most critical or fatal accidents are a result of the rider not wearing a helmet and falling on their head. A helmet can save your life. It is also important that you wear the appropriate eye protection when operating an ATV. You don't want a rock or branch hitting you in the eye while cruising through the woods. Wearing boots and gloves are also a good idea.

Consider taking a safety driving course
Taking a safety course will help educate you on how to properly handle your vehicle and what your appropriate behavior should be while riding. Visit the ATV safety institute to learn where you can take riding lessons.

Avoid street and roads
ATV means all terrain vehicle. They are not designed or intended to be driven on asphalt or concrete with large trucks and cars.  It is important that you also look to avoid driving on terrain that can cause your ATV to roll over as a result of ground instability.

Avoid speeding
The faster you go the more you increase the chances of losing control. ATVs are safe only when driven the speeds that they are designed to travel.

Avoid tricks
Many ATV injuries are a result of improper operation, i.e. trying to do tricks and stunts.

Never drive an ATV while intoxicated
Never operate an ATV while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is also important to note that taking prescription medications should be avoided. They can impair your judgment, reaction time, and overall thinking process.

Carry a cell phone or walkie talkie
You need to make sure that you will be able to reach out and get help in the event that you fall off your bike and get hurt. This is especially important if you are riding solo. Whenever you go out riding alone, it is important that you let someone know where you are going to be riding and when you intend on returning. 

Common sense.
As with anything in life, common sense goes a long way when riding an ATV.

Additional Reading:
Safety Check Guide
Buying an ATV


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