1. Before You Squeeze The Throttle
* Choose the Right Vehicle - Adult model ATVs are for riders age 16 and older only. Younger riders should never ride an adult-sized vehicle until they are at least age 16. This is especially important, since younger children are usually injured on ATVs due to their size or inexperience with operating vehicles.
* Complete a Safety Course - First-time riders should always take an ATV safety course before heading out on the trails. Safety courses educate riders of the correct way to operate and ride an ATV to ensure he or she knows how to handle the vehicle. Also, safety courses will teach riders of all ages the appropriate behavior when riding an ATV, making it critical for teens and adults to attend.
* Gear Up - Riders should always wear an ATV helmet and other protective gear, including gloves, long pants, footwear that covers the ankles, a long-sleeve shirt or jacket and eye protection.
* Respect Vehicle Capacity Guidelines - Riders should never carry a passenger on an ATV unless the ATV has been specifically designed to carry an operator and a passenger. Since you have to manipulate your weight in order to control the vehicle, two riders on a vehicle is incredibly dangerous. Also, the ATV may be unable to successfully hold the combined weight of two riders, making it less stable and more apt to roll over.
2. When You're Rolling
* Respect the Environment Where You Ride - Always obey all applicable laws and ride only in approved or designated areas and trails. Make sure to get permission before riding on private property and never ride on paved surfaces.
* Choose Your Settings - When it comes to where to ride your ATV, ensure you choose a proper setting. Avoid roads and streets, since ATVs are not designed nor intended to be driven on concrete or asphalt with larger cars and trucks. Also, avoid improper terrain that may encourage the ATV to roll over due to instability in the ground.
* Know Your Limits - Do not ride at excessive speeds or past the limit of your visibility. Do not attempt maneuvers beyond your capability. Increasing the speed — especially through certain terrains—decreases your control and the vehicle’s stability, making you more prone to have an accident.
* Don’t Drive Impaired - Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Even over the counter or prescription medications can impair your reaction time, thinking process, and judgment, so be sure to avoid operating an ATV during this time.
* No Tricks or Stunts - The most injuries on ATVs occur when the vehicles are operated improperly. Take great care in riding your ATV and be sure to avoid any tricks or stunts that will encourage an accident. Furthermore, avoid improper interaction with other individuals, whether they are on an ATV or not.
* Tell a Friend - Always make a plan before you ride and tell someone where you’re going. Ride in a group of two or three and create a buddy system.
* Carry a Communication Device with You - ATV operations should be sure to carry a cell phone or walkie talkie with them at all times so that they can call for help in the event of an emergency. This is especially true if you are riding alone, which is not encouraged, so that someone will be able to find you if you become injured.