Is a Helmet Required for UTVs?
Although donning a helmet might seem like an afterthought, wearing a properly fitting helmet should be your top priority before riding a UTV.
Many people are injured yearly while riding UTVs, but you can prevent most fatal head injuries by wearing the proper helmet. Off-roading recreational sports have their own rules and regulations surrounding helmets, but all in all, it’s always a sound idea to wear one.
Keep reading for more information regarding helmet use and UTVs.
Each state has requirements to ensure all UTVs are functioning correctly and safely. InUtah, these requirements include:
- Brakes adequate to stop and hold the machine
- A working headlight and taillight while being operated at night
- A muffler and spark arrestor (Snowmobiles are exempt from the spark arrestor requirement)
- A red or orange safety flag in designated sand dunes (These flags must be at least eight feet off the ground)
- Off-highway motorcycle operators can have a safety tag attached to their protective headgear with the flag at least 18 inches above their head.
If you operate them as intended, UTVs are generally safe; but with any off-road vehicle, there are some guidelines to remember.
Mind the following safety tips as you operate your UTV:
- Always ride in control. Never try anything beyond your skill level or the capability of the machine.
- Always wear suitable safety equipment. At the very least, this should contain a helmet, eye protection, long sleeves, long pants, gloves, and ankle-covering boots.
- Only transport passengers if a UTV is intended to do so. Most UTVs are only meant to be ridden by one person. Passengers can upset the balance of the machine, resulting in loss of control.
- Always notify someone of your location or bring someone with you.
- Riders should be able to straddle the machine with both feet on the footrests with a slight bend in the knee. They should also be able to reach the controls comfortably while turning.
- Before leaving the house, check the weather forecast. Additionally, check the avalanche prediction before traveling into the backcountry in the winter.
- Never ride while intoxicated– UTVs and alcohol do not mix; this can result in a lethal and illegal combination.
- Be ready in case of an emergency. Always have a first-aid kit, survival equipment, tool kit, and spare parts with you when riding. Also, don't forget to bring extra water and gasoline.
A helmet is the most vital safety equipment when operating a UTV. In the state of Utah, riders under the age of 18 must wear helmets. This includes all operators and passengers under 18 operating Type I ATVs, off-road motorcycles, or snowmobiles.
Helmets must fit correctly — fastened and secured. According to theNHTSA, helmets also must have a "DOT Approved" safety rating. Even though it’s not required by law, operators and riders over the age of 18 should still wear a helmet as it’s a life-saving device.
Types of Helmets
Not just any helmet will do when riding a UTV. Never substitute a proper helmet for a cycling helmet or a half helmet. These won't provide adequate protection in an accident, especially around the face.
Motorcycle helmets can be worn while operating a UTV because they have a facemask and plenty of cushioning, although they might be uncomfortable to wear at lower speeds due to their weight and heat.
A motocross helmet is the ideal kind of headgear for operating a UTV. These are perfect for UTV riding conditions since they are sturdy yet lightweight. Motocross helmets are also esteemed for high-impact extreme sports riding.
Whatever style you choose, make sure it is secure and comfortable to wear. Your helmet of choice should fit snugly but not too tightly. Your helmet will protect you better in an accident or impact.
When you turn sharply or climb slopes, your legs, feet, and ankles get a solid workout. For this reason, you require the support and protection that ankle-length boots provide. The treaded soles of hunting boots can preserve ankles while offering extra grip on the path. Lightweight hiking boots are ideal for the summer.
When searching for proper footwear, here are some things you should look for:
- Comfortable ankle padding on the inside of the boot
- The boots' rear is reinforced with reinforced leather plates and an upper layer of leather
- A curved plastic or composite material for the shin plates
- The boots' interior linings should keep water out
- Inner steel plates
- The button's rubber soles should provide a solid grip
- Aluminum is ideal for quick-release buckles because it prevents rust
UTVs can be tons of fun, as anyone who has ever ridden one will attest; however, they can also be harmful. Wearing the proper eye protection is one of the most crucial things you can do to safeguard yourself when operating a UTV.
Here are some tips when selecting what type of protective eyewear you should use before a ride:
- Your eyewear should protect you from obstacles like branches, road debris, and insects that could impede your eyesight.
- Wear eye protection with a gray or yellow tint on sunny days, clear on cloudy days, and clear at night.
- To avoid fogging, it should be shatter-proof and well-ventilated.
- Always keep eye protection secure and free from scratches.
- Sunglasses don't offer enough protection– use a face shield or goggles instead.
Visit TerraRider UTV Windshields and Accessories for Your UTV Needs
Helmets and other protective gear are crucial for any UTV ride. The more you know about protective equipment, the more equipped you’ll be for your next expedition. At TerraRider UTV Windshields and Accessories, we have over a decade of knowledge and experience to assist you with all your riding needs.
We’re a company based in Salt Lake City, Utah, so stop by and meet our friendly staff soon! If you have any questions or need a UTV, contact us today. We'd love to talk to you about how you can ride safer and be more protected this season.