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Do You Need an ATV Safety Certification?

Want to actually enjoy your ATV? Safety certification isn’t just a “nice thing to have”—it’s legally required in most parts of the US and Canada. For example, anyone under the age of 16 living in Utah who wants to drive on public lands has to be certified, but of course there are caveats. You’re free to ride your ATV or UTV on private land. State and country regulations vary, so before making a purchase make sure you check the laws and regulations first. Nothing kills a weekend of ATVing like finding out last minute you need a certification in order to ride. You might need to hit your sweet sixteen in order to be legally allowed to ride in many states and provinces, but there are reputable courses that are designed for anyone age eight and older. The reason? Off-roading has enjoyed a spike in popularity, especially in regions where all four seasons are equally gorgeous and tempting. The trails and sites are getting more crowded, which means it’s more important than ever to make sure all riders are knowledgeable and responsible. Why Get Certified in Utah No matter what state or province you travel to, your state certification meets all education requirements. This type of “reciprocity” makes it easy for off-roaders to travel far and wide—and explore all those trails that are giving off an irresistible siren’s call. However, certification is a wise move even if you live in a state with no requirements. It’s kind of like learning the basics of driving a car, motorcycle or boat. This is one time when you don’t want experience to be your teacher. It doesn’t matter if you’ve driven an ATV, UTV or other off road machine for years. Every machine is different, and the laws can always change. Did you know that single file (and no passing!) is a must on state lands? Or that any amount of alcohol in your system is illegal? What about the fact that an orange or red whip flag has to be attached to your machine when on sand dunes? Mufflers with key spark arrestors are a necessity and lights have to be on between sunset and sunrise. Learning the Ropes Remember the last time you had a rental car and you spent a few seconds “re-learning” how to drive? You get used to your own car, and every vehicle stops differently, has controls in different places and accelerates at a different rate. The same is true of UTVs. A Can Am Commander is completely different than an Arctic Cat Wildcat, and there’s no comparing a Honda Pioneer to a Yamaha Rhino. Knowledge is power, and that’s exactly what you need (and want!) on the trails. Make all your trails happy ones.

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