All Terrain Vehicles, or ATVs, can provide hours of thrilling fall fun. But they can also be extremely dangerous. Over 100,000 people wind up in the emergency room each year due to ATV accidents. Here’s what you need to know to be safe on your ATV, and to help prevent injuries to yourself and others:

Get Started with Safety:

Even if you’re an experienced driver, you should still educate yourself on the unique challenges of manning an ATV. Some states require riders to take a safety course in order to get a license; others only require it for drivers under age 16. But regardless of your state’s requirements, taking a safety course is always a good idea. Many are offered online, but your best bet is to take a course or workshop where you can receive hands-on practice and training.

ATVs on the Road:

Despite the misleading “all-terrain” in the name, ATVs are not designed to be used on regular roads, pavement especially. The majority of deadly ATV accidents often involving underage drivers occur on paved roads, and many safety experts and child advocacy groups are fighting to maintain restrictions for ATVs on the road. Despite this, some states are relaxing regulations on ATV road use due to heavy lobbying by ATV users. Whatever the law is in your state, it’s important to obey all regulations and keep road use to a minimum when you’re operating an ATV.

Protecting Children and Adolescents:

Many ATV accidents, injuries and deaths occur when ATVs are used improperly. One thing that’s extremely dangerous is allowing an adolescent to drive an adult-sized ATV, or allowing a young person to operate an ATV that is not meant for their age group. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that no child under age 16 be allowed to operate an ATV, no matter what size. If you do allow your child to operate an ATV, be sure to follow all age, weight and passenger guidelines.

Common ATV Hazards:

When used according to manufacturer guidelines and with proper safety equipment, ATVs can be tons of fun and relatively safe. Accidents happen when the basic rules are ignored. These include: driving at excessive speeds, making the ATV harder to control; not following age, passenger and weight limits; riding on paved roads; not using proper safety equipment; riding while intoxicated; and riding unsupervised or at night. Be sure to follow all safety guidelines so that your ATV experience is fun and not fatal.

For any insurance questions, call or contact Johnson Pohlmann Insurance today.