All-terrain vehicles are an awful lot of fun to drive. Moving quickly on trails and conquering tough terrain feel amazing when you’re in the driver’s seat. But of course, ATVs are not without their risks. Like all great sports, ATVing can lead to injuries and even death. But you don’t have to live with undue risk!

If you love ATVing, you need to take the necessary steps to keep your hobby as safe as possible. You owe it to yourself, your loved ones, and the ATV community to put an emphasis on safety. Here are a few things you should focus on as you strive to stay safe on your ATV.

Always wear protective gear

No matter how skilled you are, there’s always the possibility of a crash. And once a crash is in progress, there’s not much you can do to mitigate the damage. Your best bet is to prepare for a crash before it happens. Every time you get on your ATV, you should wear the gear that you’d want to have on if you got into an accident. That means tough clothes covering your skin, padding in the right places, and — above all else — a helmet.

No other part of your body is more susceptible to damage during an ATV crash than your head. And no other part of your body is as important to protect, because if you hit your head too hard, you could lose your life. A helmet can drastically reduce the odds of serious injury or death, which is why it’s the single most important piece of equipment an ATV rider can own and wear.

Wear your helmet every time you go out, and replace it as necessary. A helmet that has saved you once may not be ready to do it again, so check with the pros and buy a new helmet from time to time to ensure that you always have a tough, modern helmet ready to bail you out of a bad situation. And make sure you’re wearing the right type of helmet too.

Keep your ATV well-maintained

Like any other type of vehicle, an ATV performs best when it receives the best possible care. You ask a lot of your ATV, so it’s extremely important that you invest in proper maintenance and repairs. You need your ATV to handle well, accelerate and brake when you tell it to, and so on, because if it fails you, you could get into an accident. So give it the care it needs to serve you well.

That means regular preventative maintenance, which reduces the amount of repairs your ATV needs. It also means making repairs fast, so that small problems don’t become big ones. And it means checking things every time you head out. Double-check those ATV tires, and get new tires whenever necessary. Check fluids and other basics regularly, too. Run down a full pre-ride checklist every time you get on your ATV.

Practice safe ATVing

Your skill and choices as a rider matter enormously to your safety on your ATV. Make sure that you do everything you can to keep yourself safe.

You can develop your skill as an ATV rider by heading out regularly on your ATV. You’ll get better and better as you practice more. But your decision-making needs to be good from the start, and it needs to favor safety.

That means checking and double-checking courses, communicating with other riders, taking things slow when necessary, and always following the other tips above. The decisions you make are as important as any other factor — more important, in fact — to your safety. Invest in your future, and ride safe out there!

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