It’s that time of year — the air is hot, the days are long, and the great outdoors beckon. For those answering a more tranquil call, tending to an herb garden or taking an evening stroll will do the trick. If, however, you have a penchant for seeking thrills, riding an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) on a hot summer day and feeling the wind whip past may be the only way to appease your appetite for adventure.
We all know that these powerful vehicles require extra measures of vigilance and caution. Yet hundreds of people die each year in ATV crashes.
To combat the high number of crashes and fatalities per year, there are steps you can take to increase your ATV safety.
The 4 most common ATV crash scenarios
First, it’s important to know the who, what, and where of ATV accidents. Most fatal ATV crashes involve:
- Riders on public or private roads (instead of off-roading, where the vehicles are meant to be used)
- Males aged 16 or older
- No helmets
- Riders under the effects of alcohol
What’s more, a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that 1,701 ATV riders died in crashes on public roads from 2007 through 2011. Of those killed, almost 90 percent were the drivers.
At first glance, these all seem like fairly obvious issues. Riding an ATV near cars is dangerous. Doing so while inebriated and/or not wearing a helmet? Even more so.
So, apart from staying sober, helmeted, and away from cars, how can ATV enthusiasts continue to enjoy motorized adventures while minimizing their risk of personal injury?
ATV Safety: What you should know
According to the ATV Safety Institute (ATI), there are a few “Golden Rules” that ATV riders should abide by:
- Always wear a DOT-compliant helmet, goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle-boots, and gloves
- Stay off of paved roads unless necessary to cross (when legal, of course)
- Never ride while inebriated
- Never carry more passengers than the vehicle allows for
- Ride a vehicle that corresponds to your age and size
- Supervise all riders under 16 years of age
- Only ride on designated trails
- Take a safety course
The good news for ATV riders
But don’t worry, ATVs aren’t all doom and gloom. They’ve evolved from ordinary farm equipment into powerful adrenaline machines. While danger (and fun) may have increased significantly, being aware of what’s safe and what isn’t means the excitement can continue.
Simply wearing a helmet increases your safety dramatically. According to the IIHS, “Helmets are about 37 percent effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and about 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries.” Plus, by wearing all of the proper safety gear, riding in designated areas, and avoiding intoxicating substances, you can exponentially lower your chances of being involved in a fatal accident.
And, of course, be sure that both you and your metal beast are protected with the proper ATV insurance policy. Esurance ATV insurance is available in select states and can include all the applicable coverages you’d enjoy with motorcycle insurance (liability insurance, collision, comprehensive, and uninsured/underinsured rider coverage). Remember though, that ATV insurance regulations vary by state.
Get a quote today.