Although All Terrain Vehicles (ATV) can make for a fun day, recreational vehicles can also be very dangerous. If not treated with the respect that ATV’s deserve, someone can seriously hurt themselves or even others. Take time to become acquainted with your ATV, know the rules and take the proper precautions.

“One wrong move or misuse of your off-road vehicle can take you from the trails, to the emergency room within minutes,” said Thomas Marshall, M.D., Medical Director at United Hospital Center. “ATV safety is a very serious issue, which needs to be addressed. The lack of ATV safety brings thousands of people annually to emergency departments all over the United States.”

Statistics

“People often forget that ATV’s are not toys, they are a vehicle and should be driven with just as much caution as you would a car,” said Dr. Marshall. “In 2014 the Consumer Product Safety Commission recorded that more than 700 deaths and over 100,000 ATV related injuries occurred in the United States.”

These statistics can be lowered if we work to keep people informed about potential accidents that can occur with the misuse of an ATV. Remember that not all recreational vehicles are meant to be handled by children and to always wear the proper safety equipment when operating your off-road vehicle.

Operation

When operating your off-road vehicle, there are a few things that everyone should keep in mind. The first being never operate an ATV while under the influence of alcohol. Next, always read the operation manual before ever attempting to drive. “Ninety-two percent of recreational vehicle-related fatalities are due to warned-against behaviors,” said Dr. Marshall. “Know your ATV’s limits and never attempt to ride on dangerous terrain.”

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Safety Equipment

“The use of safety equipment when riding recreational vehicles is extremely important,” said Dr. Marshall. “It is estimated that helmets alone reduce the risk of a fatality in an accident by 42 percent.” Other equipment such as goggles, gloves, long sleeve shirts, pants and over-ankle boots should be worn at all times. These pieces of equipment could be the difference between life and death on any given day. They should always be worn, even by the most experienced driver.

Purchasing

Purchasing an ATV is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Before ever purchasing an ATV, it is important for you to locate and participate in a riding course.

“ATV accidents can happen to the most experienced riders, don’t become another statistic,” said Dr. Marshall. “Know the equipment you are riding.”