By Todd Shettles
The riding of all-terrain vehicles is a common everyday event in Mississippi. Although most individuals keep safety in mind, some overlook the possible dangers.
Most individuals ride without helmets or have more than one rider on an ATV that was designed for only one rider. But what could present the most danger is youngsters on large ATVs.
ATVs are not toys, they are machinery. They are heavy and will turn over with the slightest of ease if on certain elevations and/or terrain. You see the warnings on most of the larger ATVs that states not for operation by anyone under 16 years of age, but still there are young kids seven to 10 years of age riding these by themselves.
If you don’t believe you can be injured or killed on one of these machines, visit atvsafetynet.org and go to concerned families for ATV safety and read the personal stories. These testimonies will open your eyes to what can happen. Personal responsibility must be used at all times.
Here are some safety tips for ATV use that can help prevent injury or death. ATV Safety Tips
1. Take a hands-on safety training course. This course will teach drivers how to control ATVs in typical situations. Statistics show that drivers with hands-on training have a lower injury risk than those with no formal training.
2. Always wear protective gear — especially a helmet – when riding ATVs. Many ATV injuries are head injuries. Wearing a helmet may reduce the severity of these injuries. Make sure it is the correct size and is a DOT approved helmet.
3. Do not drive ATVs with a passenger or ride as a passenger. The majority of ATVs are designed to carry only one person. ATVs are designed for interactive riding — drivers must be able to shift their weight freely in all directions, depending on the situation and terrain. Interactive riding is critical to maintaining safe control of an ATV especially on varying terrain. Passengers can make it difficult for drivers to control the ATV.
4. Do not drive ATVs on paved roads. ATVs, because of how they’re made, are difficult to control on paved roads. Collisions with cars and other vehicles also can be deadly. Many fatalities involving ATVs occur on paved roads.
5. Do not permit children to drive or ride adult ATVs. Children are involved in about one-third of all ATV-related deaths and hospital emergency room injuries. Most of these deaths and injuries occur when a child is driving or riding on an adult ATV. Children under 16 on adult ATVs are twice as likely to be injured as those riding youth ATVs.
6. Do not drive ATVs while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Alcohol and drugs impair reaction time and judgment, two essential skills for safe ATV use
Visit atvsafetynet.org for more on ATV safety.