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Safety and Your ATV

According to the ATV Safety Center Informationall-terrain vehicles, or ATVs, are off-road vehicles used for farm work and riding on trails. In many states, it's legal for teens to ride them without a drivers license. With the thrills come big risks like rollovers and collisions. Here's how to stay safe on an ATV:

16 or Older

Health and safety experts strongly discourage ATV use by anyone younger than 16. Operating an ATV demands that drivers be skilled at making quick adjustments, such as speeding up, slowing down, and shifting their weight to help turn the ATV. People under 16 are less likely to have the physical strength and decision-making experience necessary to drive an ATV safely.

Safety Certification

Before you ride an ATV on a trail, learn how to do it safely in a controlled setting. Some states require teens to be 16 and have a safety certificate before they can ride an ATV without adult supervision.

The Right Size Ride

Full-size ATVs can weigh more than 800 pounds. That´s very difficult to handle for many body types and ages. Start out with a smaller model that's designed for young riders.

Wear a Helmet and Eye Protection

In many states, helmets and eye protection are required by law, particularly for teens. The best helmets for ATV use have a full face shield and meet Department of Transportation safety standards. Many helmets have flip-down visors for eye protection. If yours doesn't, be sure to wear shatterproof goggles and not just sunglasses.

Wear Protective Gear

ATVs have a high center of gravity and no safety cages, roll bars, or seatbelts. If they tip, you can fall off. Protective clothing will help prevent scrapes and cuts if you get thrown from an ATV.

Safe Speed

When ATVs get going fast, they become less stable and more likely to tip. ATV tires are not meant for pavement or high speeds. Both of these factors can make turning an ATV difficult and dangerous.

Know Basic First Aid

Be prepared in the event of an accident. Know how to get help if you or a friend are hurt.

Know the Rules

This applies even if you're not the one steering the ATV. Many states don't allow passengers to ride unless the ATV is designed to carry two people.

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