ATVs are fun to ride. There’s just something about the power, balance, and speed that makes them the recreational vehicle of choice for many Missourians.
As an experienced St. Louis auto and ATV accident attorney, I’ve also seen the not-so-fun side of “four-wheelers.” A crash on an ATV can leave you with life-altering injuries, as there is limited protection should the vehicle flip or roll, similar to a motorcycle or dirt bike.
I do believe ATVs can be used for recreation and work safely, as long as precautions are taken.
A list of tips from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and ATVSafety.gov can help you get the most out of your vehicle while lowering the risk of injury.
- Take a hands-on safety training course. Formal training can teach you how to control your ATV in typical situations.
- Always wear protective gear (especially a helmet). Most of the ATV injuries I see are head injuries that could have been reduced or eliminated by wearing a helmet. Choose a motorcycle or other motorized sports helmet, making sure it is certified by the U.S. Department of Transportation or Snell Memorial Foundation. Over-the-ankle boots, goggles, gloves, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts are also recommended to reduce bruising, burns, scrapes, and cuts.
- Do not drive on paved roads. Because ATVs are designed to be off-road vehicles, they can be difficult to control on pavement. If you are in a collision with a car or other vehicle, you’re generally not going to win that battle.
- Do not permit children to drive or ride adult ATVs. About one-third of all ATV-related deaths and injuries involve children. Children under 16 on adult ATVs are twice as likely to be injured compared to those on a youth ATV.
- Do not drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This may seem like an overly obvious tip, but you’d be surprised how many injuries and deaths occur because of this mix. Alcohol and drugs impair reaction time and judgment, both of which are essential skills for safe ATV operation.
From everyone at Finney Law Office, LLC, we wish you a safe and happy summer riding and driving ATVs!