ATV Wrecks ... Learn the Leading Causes in this Exclusive New Report.
Riding ATVs is supposed to be fun. But unfortunately, ATV wrecks can put
a damper on that fun in short order. That's why we want to bring you
this latest report detailing the leading causes of 4 wheeler crashes.
And more importantly, how to avoid them.
The video below shows one of the leading causes of four wheeler crashes. Lack of experience and lack of formal rider training.
Like a lot of people, I imagine this cub reporter thought she could
handle more than she actually could. At least she was wearing proper
riding gear, which kept this from being a tragedy, and less of a public
relations nightmare than it was. Not exactly the kind of publicity we
A lot of these first time rider incidents aren't a laughing
matter and have much sadder endings. I think being aware of the risks
and doing something to minimize them is the first giant step to keeping
your ATV riding on the fun side of the meter. So let's see what to look
Leading Causes of ATV Wrecks
- Inexperience - Like the reporter in the
video, riders with less than a month of experience have injury rates
13 times higher than those with more riding time under their belts.
Those with less than a year of experience accounted for almost half of
all injured riders. Over a fourth of all injuries happened to riders
with less than a month of riding experience. If you still think
training and experience aren't important - you must be skinny dippin'
in the stupid gene pool. And the fact that many of these injuries
happen to kids under 16 confirms my belief that parents should have to
pass some sort of test before they're allowed to reproduce.
- Lack of formal training - Having no
qualified hands on training demonstrating the right way to ride on ATV.
Experience alone isn't always enough. You need some formal instruction
in the correct way to ride. Years of experience doing it the wrong way
is almost as bad as none at all. Check with your local ATV
dealers or riding clubs for rider training available near you. Even if
you've been riding more than a year, I guarantee you'll learn something
you didn't know
- Rider impairment - Recent studies
estimate that nearly 30% of all ATV wrecks involve alcohol and/or
drugs. This has to be the most preventable of all reasons to crash. It
also goes a long way towards convincing the general public that we're
all a bunch of irresponsible idiots. Please don't involve yourself in
this brand of stupidity.
- Excessive speed for conditions - I
admit it, I like to go fast. But I have learned that going fast in the
wrong place at the wrong time will land you in a world of hurt. Too
many 4 wheeler wrecks happen on public roads. A vehicle designed for
off road use, a high center of gravity, and low pressure off road
tires, are not a good combination for high speed travel. As a
matter of fact, going fast in any unfamiliar situation is a great way
to meet the nice people at the nearest emergency room. I remember
discovering a 6 foot deep bomb crater in the middle of what I thought
was a wide open, level field! And that's just one of many similar
stories we don't have time for here.
- Unbalanced loads - The vast majority
of these are caused by carrying a passenger on an ATV not designed to
do so. The extra weight on the rear severely reduces the ability to
steer. And increases the risk of a rollover. The leading cause of
fatalities in ATV wrecks. I know everybody thinks they can get away
with this. Just watch the video again to see how little time and space
it takes to get in trouble. Overloading the racks on either end
of the machine can be just as bad or worse, than carrying a passenger.
OSHA has several accident reports on file caused by this very thing.
Wearing a helmet and other protection will help to minimize
injuries in a crash. But I'd much rather not crash in the first place.
- Modifications - The major manufacturers
spend big bucks engineering the ATVs they sell. When you modify the
suspension, change wheels and tires, add power, etc., it may adversely
effect the handling of your four wheeler. It's a good idea to consult
with the manufacturer before you start bolting stuff on or taking it
- Improper maintenance - Statistics show
that many owners have never read their operators manuals. So how would
they know what proper maintenance was and when it was needed? They
wouldn't. Lack of regular maintenance has been shown to be a
contributing factor in atv wrecks and fatalities. When you "ride 'em
hard and put 'em up wet", you're increasing your chances of a crash.
At a minimum, the condition of tires, brakes, steering, and
suspension should be checked before every ride.
- Poor judgment - Pretty much a factor
in most ATV wrecks. Inexperience just multiplies the problem because
you don't even know what you don't know. The decision not to get
training, to drink or do drugs, to ride past your or the ATVs
capabilities, to carry a passenger, or to skimp on maintenance are all
examples of poor judgment. But the poorest judgment of all?
Parents who allow their kids to do any of the things we've talked
about. Or worse, let them ride without supervision. I just finished a
story in my local newspaper about the deaths of a 15 and 17 year old.
They were riding toward each other on a public road shortly after
midnight with no lights and no helmets. The resulting head-on collision
killed both instantly. Where were the parents? Do you know where your
There may be a silver lining to all these reasons for ATV crashes.
Fatality and injury numbers have improved in the last few years. But
even one is too many and we all need to do our part, especially any time
you see a new rider that needs some help.
Looking closely at the main causes of ATV wrecks, you
can't help but notice that a majority of these are preventable. With
almost 9 million ATVs in use, let's do our best to make this the fun,
family sport it needs to be.
ATV Institute Rider Training.
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