All-Terrain Vehicle Safety and Awareness
There is certainly plenty of wide open spaces for ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle) riding here in the Las Vegas valley including many off-road ATV tours offered as well. A day outdoors ATV riding can be fun for enthusiasts but keep in mind ATVs are designed for “off-road” use only and may not be driven on Nevada public roads or highways. In addition, ATVs handle differently from other vehicles such as motorcycles and cars and can be dangerous to operate.
The U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission attributes more than 800 deaths and 135,000 injuries each year to ATV incidents and therefore ATV safety is of critical importance for communities and drivers across the country. About one-third of ATV-related deaths and injuries are to children under 16 years old. Like other activities involving high speeds and heavy machinery, riding an ATV can be dangerous and certain behaviors may increase the risk of injury or death.
Proper instruction and practice are extremely important and therefore it is wise to consult an ATV safety guide before heading out for the day off-roading on ATVs. In addition, city and county governments designate small portions of public streets for access to or from off-road areas only and some age restrictions or other requirements may apply.
The Nevada Commission for Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs) promotes safe and responsible use of off-road recreation. The Commission also allocates grants and other funding for trail improvements, mapping, education and other projects and provide a host of resources for off-road recreation.
All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Safety Tips
Here are some general ATV safety tips to consider before hitting the trails:
(Source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission)
- Take a Safety Training Course. Drivers with hands-on ATV training have a lower risk of injury than drivers with no formal training.
- Wear Protective Gear. The majority of ATV injuries are head injuries. Wearing a DOT-compliant helmet can prevent or reduce the severity of these injuries. In addition, wear over-the-ankle boots, gloves, goggles, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt to protect against abrasions and other injuries from rocks, trees and debris on the trails.
- Do Not Drive a Passenger nor Ride as a Passenger. Nearly all ATVs are designed to carry only one person and are designed to be interactive, where drivers need to shift their body weight in all directions, depending on the situation or terrain. Interactive riding is critical to maintaining safe control of an ATV and passengers make it very difficult for drivers to control it.
- Do Not Drive ATVs on Paved Roads. ATVs are too difficult to control on paved roads. Collisions with cars and other vehicles have led to many fatalities involving ATVs operating on paved roads.
- Do Not Permit Children to Drive or Ride Adult ATVs. Children are involved in about 30 percent of all ATV-related deaths and emergency room-treated injuries. Most of these deaths and injuries occur when a child is driving or riding on an adult ATV. Children younger than 16 are twice as likely to be injured on adult ATVs as compared to those riding youth ATVs.
- Do Not Drive ATVs While under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs. It is no different from driving a motor vehicle on the road, alcohol and drugs impair your reaction time and judgment, and these are two very essential skills for riding an ATV safely.
Click here for a comprehensive website with safety information, training course links, ATV recalls, and state and national information. Stay safe on the trails!