Tips for ATV safety

People who enjoy riding ATVs should be aware of some important safety tips to protect themselves.

All-terrain vehicles provide a way for people in Virginia to enjoy some of the more rugged trails that would be inaccessible by standard vehicles. ATVs are designed to be able to handle gaps and large bumps, and because of the nature of these vehicles, the trails tend to pose a lot more dangers than typical dirt and side roads. While it may be true that there are more obstacles and dangerous types of terrain on these trails, the risk of injury can be greatly reduced by observing some safe practices that should be followed by all ATV drivers.

ATVs are not toys

A deceptive thing about ATVs is that they are made in different sizes and are often marketed towards families. While a driver's license is not required to drive an ATV in Virginia, nobody under 12 years of age is allowed to operate one. Those between 12 and 16 years can drive an ATV with an engine below 90cc. At the end of the day, ATVs are not toys and should not be given to children without careful supervision and restriction. A Department-of-Transportation-approved helmet should be worn at all times.

ATVs that are designed for children are built smaller than adult-sized ATVs in order to ensure the safest possible riding experience. Whether they are children or adults, nobody should be riding as a passenger in an ATV. The vehicles are balanced and designed to be safely operable by one driver apiece. Adding extra weight runs the risk of the vehicle tipping over, which could lead to an unexpected accident.

General safe practices

Beyond what parents should be keeping in mind for their kids, there are some additional things to keep in mind. The ATV Safety Institute recommends that these vehicles not be used for any road that is not specified as an ATV trail. This includes driving on paved roads meant for cars. The only time an ATV should be on a paved road is when there is a designated crossing-area. Speed signs may be posted on these trails, but a good rule of thumb is to operate the vehicle at a speed that seems safe and stable, even when no speed limit is posted. Finally, people should never forget that just as when driving a motor vehicle on roads or highways, nobody driving an ATV should ever do so under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Those in Virginia who have enjoyed the State's ATV trails may have been involved in an accident that resulted in an injury. Anyone seeking representation or help figuring out how to get compensation for expensive medical bills may wish to contact an attorney in the local area who practices personal injury law.