A man driving an ATV sold at Gordon Bay Marine

ATV Safety

May 06, 2020

Tips for Safe ATV Riding

There’s no thrill quite like riding an ATV, but that thrill doesn’t come without risks. Every year, people get severely hurt or even killed riding their ATVs. Part of that is due to unforeseen circumstances, but a large part is also due to things like rider error and faulty equipment.

We’ve designed this short guide to offer you some basic advice about how to stay safe while riding ATVs. Read on to learn more, and if you need new riding equipment or parts and services for your quad, stop by Gordon Bay Marine Yamaha. We proudly serve the areas of Muskoka and Toronto from our Lake Joseph dealership.

Invest in Good Equipment

Good equipment can make all the difference in an accident, and in some cases, it can be the difference between getting in a wreck or not. It’s often tempting to cut corners where we can or pick up a cheap gear, in the beginning, hoping one day to replace it with a better version. But when it comes to your safety, it’s best to put the money and time into getting it right in the beginning. Finding the right helmet is especially important. The main things you want to look for in a helmet are the fit and the crash test rating. If a helmet slides around and is too loose, or pinches your head and is too tight, it won’t provide the protection you need in a crash. The helmet needs to fit your specific head. Secondly, you should pay attention to the crash test rating. The DOT is one testing agency that approves helmets. Look for their sticker when buying a helmet. An independent testing body known as Snell is another good crash test rating to consider. Many riders consider them to be one of the most rigorous testing agencies.

Keep Your ATV Maintained

You can’t ride an ATV safely if the ATV itself isn’t safe to ride, so it’s important to stay up to date on your maintenance schedule. Before you ride, make sure you complete a pre-ride checklist. Check the inflation in the tires and the fluid levels for the oil, coolant, and brake fluid. You should also look for any other visible sign that something might be broken or in bad condition. Less frequently, it’s helpful to get your ATV tuned up by a certified technician. They can help to catch small problems before they become bigger and be able to repair and replace things the right way to ensure a lasting fix to the problem.

Safe Riding Tips

There are a few common mistakes that people make when riding ATVs. One mistake is that they overload their ATV with weight by adding an extra person. ATVs are specifically built for either one rider or two riders, but adding an extra rider to an ATV that’s only designed for one person can be very dangerous. The extra weight will dramatically change the way the ATV handles, accelerates, and brakes. Another common mistake is failing to read the terrain. ATVs may be designed to handle all types of terrain, but if you try to run through mud, water, forest, fields, and anything else you come across at top speed, you’ll get yourself in trouble. Whenever possible, try to stay on established trails.

It’s also important to avoid riding while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Alcohol is one of the leading causes of ATV accidents, and the accidents in which it’s involved tend to be much worse than those where it’s not a factor. Even riding your ATV while on prescription drugs can be dangerous though, so ask your doctor before attempting it.

Stay Within Your Riding Limits

We all have limits to our riding skill, and it’s important to stay within these when we ride. Rider error might be the most common cause of ATV accidents, and that’s because people tend to ride harder than they have the skill for. If you’re going to take ATV riding safety seriously, you need to recognize how easily something can go wrong and respect that fact.

If you want to stay safe on your ATV, follow our tips. If you need parts and services for your ATV, bring it to our service center. We’re located near Muskoka and Toronto, Ontario, and we proudly serve the Lake Joseph area.