PROTECTING YOURSELF & YOUR FAMILY: Staying safe when driving ATVs and UTVs

Consumer Alerts

UPDATE: WEST MONROE, La. — (08/02/19) “These things are made to be fun, made to have a good time, you know smiles and keep people happy, but tragedy can happen when you’re least expecting it,” Matt Curtis, House of Cycles salesman, said.

That’s why it’s important to make sure protective gear, such as helmets and gloves, fit good and tight.

“If you can shake your head and the helmet is swaying back and forth, that helmet is obviously too big,” Curtis said.

Curtis says wearing protective gear that does not fit properly won’t do riders any good.

“You want it to be snug on your face and feel it up against your cheeks, that way if you do get thrown off the ATV it doesn’t come off,” Curtis said.

Parents should also never let children under 16 years old to drive an ATV, most off-roading vehicles will have an age requirement warning sign on the machine.

“Any child under 16 is not supposed to be on these 4-wheelers outside of the youth 4-wheelers,” Curtis said.

Most importantly, always make sure riders are buckled up and supervised.

“You never know when a child is gonna get a wild hair and decide that they want to go fast. Just always keep supervision on a child that is riding,” Curtis said.

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama (WZDX) — There are several easy ways for people to stay safe when riding an ATV or UTV. One of the biggest things for people to know is that one size doesn’t fit all.

Freedom Powersports Sales Manager, Louis Yarborough, said, “First and foremost, make sure that the age is appropriate for the vehicle. They’ve got different age ranges starting at age six for ATVs.”

On Wednesday, 14-year-old Kathryn Baker was killed in a UTV accident. Limestone County Coroner, Mike West, says Baker was driving a UTV with a cage and wasn’t wearing a seat belt. The 6-year-old who was in the UTV with her was wearing a seatbelt and is okay.

Yarborough says riding UTVs and ATVs can be dangerous for anyone, and that kids need to know the rules, too.

“Kids don’t look at how deep the water is. They just go in the water, or how steep the rock is. They just climb over it. Where, as we get older, we think more about those things,” said Yarborough.

Before getting on any of these vehicles, you need to put on clothes that cover your body, over the ankle boots, gloves, and a helmet.

Freedom Powersports Parts & Accessories Manager, Taylor Pugh, said, “Having a good helmet is not important enough. It needs to be sized correctly. A helmet should be pushed against your cheeks and feel like a good fitting hat around the top of the head. If it’s too big, if you hit the ground, what’s going to happen is the helmets going to move and your head’s going to stay stationary.”

An important rule to follow is to never carry more than one person on a single-rider ATV, and in case something does happen, it’s important to have on safety gear.

“Safety gear can definitely save a life, um, having a good neck protector and head protector. Those are two of the more major injuries. Having that neck collar and that helmet can definitely save you from having a, you know, a life threatening brain injury,” said Pugh.

To take an online safety course, click here.

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