The best way to have a safe and enjoyable ATV trip is to be prepared by planning ahead.
Plan your trip with a buddy or a group
When thinking about your next off-road adventure, find other ATV enthusiasts who would love to go along. Never ride solo! Being out in the wilderness alone is not a good idea. Getting lost or stuck, encountering wildlife, vehicle malfunctions, or unexpected accidents may occur, so it’s important to have a backup. Trying to pull your vehicle out with a broken bone could be tricky.
Familiarize yourself with the trails you’ll be riding
Give everyone in the group a printed copy of the area’s map and stay on designated trails. Talk about what to do if someone gets lost or separated. Don’t rely on cell phones which may not work in remote areas. It’s also a good idea to leave a map and itinerary back at home with a friend or family member.
Know the terrain. Make sure you’ve practiced the proper skills, whether for hills, snow, sand, mud or water. This is especially important for beginners, but even experienced riders can enhance their adventure with advance preparation.
Each area also has its own rules. Registration, safety, and equipment requirements vary by state and location. So make sure you know the rules for where you’re going and be prepared to abide by them.
Pre-check your vehicle and equipment
Before you head out, do any maintenance necessary, such as checking fluid levels, tires, and the condition of your safety equipment like your helmet, eye protection, and gloves. You want everything to be in top working order before starting your trip.
If renting a vehicle, be sure you fully understand how to operate it before you go. ATVs do not handle like cars or motorcycles, so it’s important that you get familiar with your vehicle before taking it off-road.
Know your fuel range and the distances of the trails you’ll be covering. It would be terrible to run out of gas in the middle of your ride! Packing some emergency tools such as a tire plug kit and air pump, tow strap, etc. could also prove helpful in a jam.
Planning your ATV trip is important, but it’s also just as critical to be willing to make adjustments if necessary.
You should check the weather forecast and postpone if conditions look unsafe. Also be aware of driver fatigue or vehicle issues and end the ride early before it becomes dangerous.
If an emergency arises, stay cool. The more you’ve planned, the more likely you are to have a solution to your problem on hand.
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