Whether you are a veteran of the ATV trail or a novice rider itching to explore the great outdoors on your four-wheeler, you need to bring with you more than a little good sense and safety precautions. Without a significant amount of awareness when it comes to protecting yourself and your ATV, you could wind up injured, lost, or otherwise in bad shape.
First, it’s essential that you bring a helmet with you. In many places, it’s the law. Of course, there might not be other people for a hundred miles except you and your riding companions, so your initial thought process might suggest the opposite. Unless you’re a top-notch prognosticator or have access to a 100% accurate crystal ball, that kind of thinking is as risky as gambling on a horse with a lame leg.
Next, remember the adage, “Drinking and driving don’t mix”? It goes for ATVs as well as automobiles, motorcycles, and boats. Even one beer can render you in a state of slowed responsiveness… and that means that a wrong turn could be the last one you ever make. Save the alcoholic beverages for the celebratory dinner or party the night after a long day of ATV trail cruising.
Make sure you consider using the “buddy system.” Though there are plenty of ATV enthusiasts who head out into the mountains with nary a friend save their trusty four-wheeled playmates, it is typically not a good idea.
If you’re exploring a new ATV trail, bring along an updated map of the area. In fact, you might want to get a couple of them and make sure both you and your riding buddies each have one. Sure, it’s not supposed to be cool to say, “Let’s look at the map,” but it’s a lot better than shivering along a remote ATV trail at midnight, wondering how in the world you will make it back.
It’s also important that you turn on the local weather station by the use of the radio or television before taking a four-wheeler spin. Though most ATVs are built to handle tricky conditions, it’s best to know what elements you’re likely to encounter. That way you can dress appropriately, bring along suitable gear or leave the ATV riding for another day if conditions look especially dicey.