Irrespective of whether you are getting ready for the weekend or thinking about joining one of the most popular sports around, ATV riding while it can be fun can also be dangerous.
Lots of people consider it a little more than driving a car; however, this is not the case.
If you are keen on ATV riding, you need to learn and understand universally accepted safety tips, as this will keep you from experiencing an injury.
Even if you’re a veteran of the trail, there is no harm in having a little refresher course in common sense ATV riding.
There is a list of tips that you should be aware of to assist you in being a better ATV rider. Some of these tips are straightforward and fairly obvious, while others may not be common knowledge.
However, by simply implementing these tips and practicing safe riding, you will be able to enjoy each and every ATV ride.
- 1 What is the difference between driving a motorbike, bike and ATV/UTV?
- 2 Difference between driving car and ATV/UTV
- 3 Additional tips for driving a UTV on rough terrains
What is the difference between driving a motorbike, bike and ATV/UTV?
Irrespective of where you are chances are you want a good vehicle to get around. However, when you are at a cabin, a car simply isn’t impractical to get everyone you want to go to.
There are a few things to consider such as are the roads to the cabin made of dirt? Or is there limited roads, however lots of areas to explore?
Ultimately in a situation like this you want an off-road vehicle to get around. However, what should you get?
There are so many options on the market from dirt bikes and motorcycles to ATVs and UTVs. Ultimately your answer will depend on a few factors.
If you’re staying at a cabin that has lots of steep hills and bumpy terrain, then dirt bikes offer the best option. It is still possible to tip over sideways or backward on dirtbikes, however, it’s a lot easier to handle and keep yourself upright when you need to.
It will take a little practice to get the hang of standing up and leaning forward when you’re going up hills on a debt back however with good technique you can safely steer these steep hills.
Unfortunately, when it comes to bumpy or hill terrain, neither ATVs or UTVs will be suitable. ATVs are a bit more dangerous since they did not contain roll cages that UTVs have.
It’s quite possible to sustain injuries in the event you are going up a steep hill but your UTV does have a roll cage so as long as your arms and legs are kept inside the vehicle, it won’t do as much damage to you or the vehicle as if you are on an ATV.
UTVs are also less maneuverable than ATVs. So in an area where there’s lots of wood, it is best to steer clear of UTVs. Of the three options, dirt bikes seem to be the most maneuverable.
You can easily start and stop depending on your skill level and the size of the bike.
UTVs are great options if you need a workhorse. They have lots of cargo space or at least more than ATVs. So this makes it ideal for carrying along work tools and since they are a bit larger than ATVs, UTVs are also more powerful.
So ultimately they are designed for hard work. If you’re going to be towing, pulling and plowing, then a UTV is the ideal machine.
Difference between driving car and ATV/UTV
Perhaps the main or most fundamental difference between a car and off-road vehicles such as UTVs and ATVs is that cars are designed to be driven on the road. Or at least on a well designed, smooth road.
Normal vehicles do not have the ability to ride over bumps and hills the way that UTVs and ATVs do. So ultimately if you have an ordinary vehicle, it’s best to stick to the roads.
ATVs, on the other hand, are more like quad bikes and designed for single riders. They are designed for off-road activities and can be used when riding in the woods or tackling all sorts of rough terrains.
However, ATVs are much lighter than UTVs and therefore don’t do well when going up hilly or bumpy roads.
UTVs are four-wheel-drives and usually come in 2 to 4 seaters. They are much larger and heavier and therefore can do a better job at attempting to overcome bumps and hills.
However, UTVs are designed to be workhorses and are mainly used by farmers in tackling everyday tasks on the farms. They are also great vehicles for offloaded adventures with the entire family.
Another benefit of UTVs is that they have something called a roll cage which ensures that in the event you do topple over and as long as your arms and legs are within the vehicle, the frame will protect you.
Additional tips for driving a UTV on rough terrains
1. Wear gear
Safety gear should always be worn and there are no exceptions to this rule. Safety gear includes helmets, boots, goggles, gloves and anything else that you may feel is required.
ATVs do not have seatbelts and flipping over is a lot easier than you may think. So be prepared to go home in one piece.
An inspection is compulsory every time you ride your ATV. You should start by checking the tires for signs of wear and rims for damage.
Also, look over your controls and ensure that the connections and cables are intact. Check the sprockets for broken teeth and chain for worn links and ensure there’s enough lubrication.
3. Ride with a friend
Participating in any activity where accidents can and do happen, it’s never a good idea to go it alone. It is essential that you have a riding buddy to go along with you.
Running out of gas, crashing over and getting lost is never fun and it’s even worse if you are all by yourself. So aside from having friends there to watch your back, grab a few of them and make a fun and memorable day of it.
4. Never drink and ride
Okay, this one may seem fairly obvious however it’s not safe to drink irrespective of whether you are driving a car or riding an ATV. It is no secret that alcohol and drugs impair your judgment and your ability to ride and drive safely.
Don’t put yourself in that position and don’t put others at risk as well. Leave the beers for the evening when the gear is packed away.
5. Take a break
One of the biggest benefits of ATV riding is that it is a great way to exercise. Although it demands lots of mental acuity and strength, over time these bumps and jumps, as well as tight corners, will build stamina in you.
However, in the meantime, it can also wear you down irrespective of how strong you consider yourself to be. If you feel fatigued, you should stop riding and take a break.
Even if you don’t feel tired but you have been riding one day, it’s good to take a break, rehydrate and fuel up with some lunch.
6. One rider only policy
Unless you are riding an ATV specifically made for two people, and in this case, you’re probably riding a UTV, you should not have more than one person on the quad at any given point in time.
So you should avoid piggybacking or side riding at all costs.
7. Stick to the trails
Stick to the designated ATV trails.
This is for your safety and also the safety of others. In addition to this, it also prevents unnecessary wear on your machine and by sticking to the trail it shows that you are a good steward of the sport. So ride where it is legal.
8. Ride the right ATV
Say you could be asking, what exactly is the right ATV?
As a general rule, only 90cc larger engines are allowed for those 16 years and older. So don’t put your 10-year old on 250cc ATV is all we’re saying.
9. Be aware
Know your surroundings. Also never ride alone. You should always keep your eyes on the trail ahead just like when driving a car.
Bumps are fun however when you hit one unexpectedly you could get bounced right off your ride. So look out for animals jumping out in front of you and be cognizant of other people riding alongside you.
10. No goon riding
This is probably the number one reason why lots of riders get hurt. Irrespective of whether you are showing off or trying to see exactly how hard you can push your quad, riding beyond your ability is almost a sure way to get yourself hurt.