The right UTV accessories can prevent serious injury from UTV rollovers, but the best plan of attack is to prevent a rollover in the first place. A knowledgeable and safety-minded UTV owner/rider will have rollover protection in place and make sure to practice common sense. Unfortunately, “common sense is not so common,” said French philosopher Voltaire, and he remains correct to this day. One of the biggest causes of UTV rollovers is operating them on public roads. UTVs are designed exclusively for off-road usage, which is why driving them on public roads is illegal in the vast majority of the United States.
However, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety/Highway Loss Data Institute reports that many people take UTVs onto public roads each year, regardless of the laws. Between 2007 and 2011, 1,700 UTV riders died in collisions on public roads in the United States. Countless others were likely injured. Senior vice president for research at the IIHS Anne McCartt says, “These vehicles are designed for off-road use, yet most of the fatal crashes are occurring on roads.”
Always remember that while many UTVs can maintain highway speeds, the tires are simply not designed for pavement. Combine highway speeds with a UTV’s propensity to roll over (at least compared to sedans, trucks, SUVs and the like), and it is a recipe for disaster.
Flirting with Danger
As the popularity of UTVs has increased in recent years, so have injuries—but these are largely due to a lack of rollover protection, driver/rider safety training and a lack of good common sense. According to the IIHS, most serious injuries happen to male drivers 16 years old or older. Most fatal accidents involve riders with no helmets, and a generous number of these riders had been drinking.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission no longer conducts UTV accident studies, but in the last year of their study (2007), it was found that 65 percent of serious injuries occurred on public roads. The CPSC data complements IIHS data, confirming that the vast majority of deaths and serious injuries were likely preventable, had the drivers followed the law, kept to off-road usage, worn helmets, refrained from drinking and basically followed the rules of the (off) road.
Even riders who have had UTVs for years can benefit from a refresher safety course, which is optional in some states. However, adding rollover protection to a UTV is also a great safety measure. Rollover protection comes in a wide range of styles and prices, so there is surely something for every UTV owner. Cages can be added quickly and can be cost effective, instantly optimizing safety of all riders and passengers.
Get rollover protection help today by contacting your local UTV Windshield and Accessories team, who knows safety and joyriding go hand in hand.