Why are ATVs so dangerous?
Many people are initially surprised when they learn that ATVs are death traps and anybody that hops into them is guaranteed a terrible fate. well, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit but saying that ATVs are dangerous isn’t a false statement by any means. you have probably seen ATV accidents in Youtube videos or maybe you have seen them with your own eyes, or you haven’t seen them happen at all, the truth is that they aren’t a pretty sight. accidents and injuries while riding quads have always been part of the game and while safety technology has improved and understanding of what really causes an accident has improved too, they are still a rather common sight in motocross and offroading circles, especially with inexperienced riders.
The reason why ATVs are so dangerous is that ATVs have a lot of ground clearance and that means a higher center of gravity. this means that most of the quad’s weight is concentrated in a higher point over the ground. combine this with uneven terrain and it is a recipe for accidents. other factors that increase the risk of suffering an accident in an ATV include inexperienced riders, riding on the road, and riding with more than 1 person.
But even though riding ATVs require some caution, there are a few things that you can know so that you can make it a safer experience. things like using safety gear and riding at controlled speed are warranted, as are other tips such as using quads that you can control and trying not to ride the quad in a normal road. anyways, I decided to create this post because people have interest in the matter. I compiled everything I know and then some! please enjoy.
So why exactly are ATVs so dangerous?
To the discerning eye, an ATV is a harmless machine that goes slow, sounds like a tractor, and is used by farmers all over America. nothing dangerous to it, right?? Wrong! because of some reasons I said above, riding ATVs carries some risks to it. things like rollovers, foot scrapings, and collisions are some of the things that can happen while riding. kids are also especially vulnerable to ATV injuries because their parents think that they are safe in their powered quad-cycle. and so they leave their kids without supervision. Now, after I explained all of this to you, the real question you might have now is “why are they so dangerous then? they do not really look as dangerous as a dirtbike or a car!”
Anyways, like I said in the first paragraphs, the reason why ATVs are so dangerous is because of one of the primary characteristics of quads: higher center of gravity. this means that the quad has most of its weight concentrated higher in the air. this is primarily done to increase the ground clearance of the quad. and a higher ground clearance means that the quad has increase offroading performance, something really important in quads. so, a higher ground clearance means that you can traverse very rocky conditions in a pinch, but it also means that the quad is less stable! and that means that it’s much easier to rollover in a quad. rollovers can occur in several ways: overforcing the quad to move through an offroading area, and sharp cornering.
When it comes to the first reason, it usually happens when trying to climb a very steep set of rocks. anything over 45 degrees can mean trouble, especially for somebody inexperienced. try to be cautious when offroading and avoid overforcing the quad because not doing so could mean trouble!
The second reason people suffer rollovers is because they corner too sharply at too high speeds. this is an easy way to get yourself trampled by the quad. if you are trying to drive fast, then you should corner in a firm manner but nothing too jerky.
What can I do to minimize the danger
1. Avoid riding your quad at excess speeds.
Like I said a few paragraphs ago, in most ATV accidents high speeds are involved. so you should really slow down, no matter if you are a beginner or an expert. if you are having trouble controlling the speeds, you could also just get a quad that has a throttle limiter. this is something that doesn’t appear in every quad but it might be worth a look.
2. Make sure that tires have the correct air pressure.
Lowering the air pressure of the tires is something that many offroaders like to do, but the problem is when they stop offroading. they forget to increase the tire pressure again and that means less stability when riding in other situations. every tire has an ideal tire pressure, so it might be wise to check with the tire’s manufacturer to see which pressure is best.
3. Install nerf bars
Nerf bars are protective bars that will cover your feet in case they slip from the quad. if you don’t know what they are, you can go to a local store with your quad to see which one fits your machine or you can go to Amazon to check their nerf bar variety.
4. Wear safety equipment
Things like helmets and boots are the most important stuff but don’t forget things like chest protectors, shin guards, gloves, etc… if you are somebody that likes riding a lot, then you might even think of getting a jersey and pants. these will protect you from road debris and you will look really cool too!
5. If inexperienced, ride with some1 else/ have someone teach you
Most people won’t have a problem with this because most people were introduced to quads by a relative or a friend. but if not, you can always go to motocross trail and ask for help. there are even some motocross trails that offer dirtbiking and ATV riding classes
6. Move through offroad areas at a prudent speed
To avoid any bad times while riding quads, you should move slowly in any off-roading situation. obviously, this is to reduce the possibility of rollover. in other words, you should avoid forcing the quad if it can’t really go forward. this will also avoid unnecessary scraped in the skid plates of your ATV
7. Ride on a quad that is appropriate for your size.
This might or might not be possible depending on the specific person but if you got the cash, try to get the ATV that most fits your body type. this is pretty common sense, but people very often buy a quad that is either too big or too small for their arms and legs, and that makes it hard for them to ride quads comfortably
8. If riding on motocross trail, careful on the jumps.
If it’s your first time riding a motocross trail, then try to keep it slow and give it a few practice laps so that you can feel the bumps. avoid accelerating too heavily so that you get used to the impact. as you keep circling the trail, slowly increase speed.
ATV Safety And Kids
Something that especially concerns parents is the safety of their kids while riding quads. kids are especially vulnerable to ATV accidents because parents think that they are harmless machines since they are 4-wheeled, and so they leave their kids supervised and kids then start revving their machines and then something bad happens. I spoke about this issue in this article but it is usually how the story goes when it comes to kids and quad accidents. I would recommend that you take the time to teach your kids how to properly ride a quad, how to corner it etc.. so that they really know what they are doing.
Other things that are mandatory for my kids are safety equipment. so things like helmets, boots, etc… especially if they are riding on a trail. the last important thing is that it’s important that the kids are supervised. this is in my opinion more important than anything in this paragraph. being there when your kids needs you will go a long way to avoid any injuries and accidents.
Another important part of protecting your kids is simply getting them the correct quad for their size. many parents will simply let their children drive a full-size ATV even though the kid is having a hard time grabbing onto the handlebars. there are mini-ATVs available which are better suited for kids. they generally have less power, less ground clearance and they are also much cheaper than a normal quad! so if your kid really likes riding ATVs, then getting a Mini-ATV for Christmas for them might be warranted!