What Are the Safety Guidelines for UTVs?
In a previous blog, we detailed safety guidelines for riding your UTV in the winter. In today’s blog, we’ll discuss general safety guidelines for any season, so sit back and take note of these important safety suggestions before heading out for your next UTV adventure.
Safety Guidelines for UTVS
There are several safety guidelines it’s recommended to follow to ensure you and your passengers stay safe on the trail, including, but not limited to, slowing down on rough terrain, understanding street requirements, vehicle manuals, and more. Now, let’s break down these guidelines to stay safe.
Eight Tips to Stay Safe on the Trail
- Understand ALL manufacturer’s guidelines and operator instruments. It’s essential to be aware of your specific model’s capabilities, even though modern UTVs have similar instruments as other farm machinery. Use flags, reflectors, and lights to ensure your UTV is visible.
- The number of seat belts equals that of the passengers. In other words, if you have four passengers, only four should be in your UTV. Also, each passenger should be tall enough to reach the handholds of the vehicle when sitting correctly in their seat. Operators and passengers must have their arms and feet in the UTV when in motion. Even with a roll bar, passengers need securely fastened seat belts to protect them in the event of a rollover.
- Allow only age-appropriate use. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children are involved in roughly 30 percent of all ATV-related deaths and emergency room-treated injuries. Most manufacturers of off-road vehicles suggest operators be at least 16 years old but check with your state for laws. All ATV/UTV riders should take a hands-on safety training course before operating the vehicle.
- Watch what you wear. Riding in a UTV isn’t the same as riding in a car. Appropriate helmets, eye protection, sturdy shoes (no flip-flops), and protective, reflective clothing for nighttime riding is a must. Ensure the helmets meet the same safety standards as for motorcycle riders.
- Slow down on rough terrain. The roads can be unpredictable, so to prevent your UTV from overturning, reduce your speed; this also prevents your passengers from getting thrown from the vehicle. When making a turn on a sloped area, drive up the hill entirely or down the hill before making the turn. It’s safer this way, instead of driving across on an incline.
- Keep loads secure in a cargo bed to prevent shifting during transportation. The UTV’s center of gravity is raised when hauling loads in the cargo bed, so slow down and make smooth turns to avoid the risk of overturning, particularly with a heavy load.
- Never drinking and driving - ever. This should be a given, but it’s vital never to drink and drive while operating any machinery.
- Understand street-legal requirements. Beware of all state laws for on-road use and don’t ride on paved roads, as UTV tires aren’t designed to grip on the pavement. Also, parents shouldn’t allow their kids to ride UTVs at nighttime.