Summer and the sun is finally here. Many are taking this opportunity to get outside and enjoy outdoor activities. One activity that is growing in popularity is the use of All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs).
It has become very popular with agriculture, farming and recreational activities, and sure can be fun and enjoyable going on a relaxing ride.
However, many do not realize the dangers of this high-risk activity. In my role working to prevent injuries, I am passionate about getting the word out on how important it is take safety into account when you’re out having fun on an ATV. Last year, Bryan Trauma treated nearly 55 people who had life-threatening ATV-related injuries. And, in the first five months of 2020 we’ve already cared for 32 patients with life-threatening injuries due to ATVs.
We want you to have all the fun, and none of the injuries. Here are some tips to keep you and others safe when you’re out on an ATV.
ATV Do’s and Don’ts
- Ride an ATV that’s right for your age – this is especially important for youth.
- Wear a DOT-compliant helmet, goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots and gloves.
- Ride only on designated trails and at a safe speed.
- Scan the path ahead and identify potential hazards such as rocks, stumps, low or fallen branches, fences, guy wires, and rough or unstable path surfaces.
- Be careful when driving with added ATV attachments. These affect the machine’s stability, braking and operation.
- Tell someone where you are going and when you will return.
- Allow children to operate ATVs without training.
- Operate the ATV on streets, highways or paved roads, except to cross at safe, designated intersections.
- Ride under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
- Carry passengers.
- Operate an ATV at excessive speeds. Go at speeds right for the terrain, visibility conditions and your experience level.
UNL Videos to Help You Prepare
To help prepare yourself and those you care about for safe ATV outings, the UNL Nebraska Extension Office offers free educational videos developed for the Bryan Trauma Center. We encourage you to take advantage of this to learn more.
- ATV Aware: What Size is Right for You? https://unl.box.com/s/3sivino19jl5xf8iw74ze1ngccy2q09l
- ATV Aware: Why Only One Rider? https://unl.box.com/s/wqb6cn02k1f7cihwfolduwkqvjuaco0e
- ATV Aware: Helmets and other Protective Equipment
- ATV Aware: Riding ATVs on Roads https://unl.box.com/s/5l3vv4edh5jsw2cajw3ow7ax5ltflyp2
- Nebraska Laws: https://unl.box.com/s/ijw7ywcduu0awh05vnhzajjywek8dd2z
Other ATV Resources for You
Want to learn more? Check out this free ATV online safety course.
The ATV Safety Institute (ASI) offers three e-learning courses to address basic ATV safety for:
- Adults and teens
- Adults who will be helping youngsters on ATVs
The courses includes videos, pictures and interactive lessons to make them fun and effective learning experiences. After completing a course, you can receive a certificate of completion.
Interested in Nebraska laws for ATVs? Get that information now.
Have Fun and Be Safe!
I hope you’ll take advantage of this information to enjoy outings on ATVs. We all know how much fun this can be, and while the Bryan Trauma Center offers expert treatment, we don’t want you to be sidelined from the fun while you recover from an injury.
Joni Folkerts RN, MSN
Trauma Outreach & Injury Prevention Coordinator
Joni Folkerts, RN, MSN, is the trauma outreach & injury prevention coordinator the Bryan Trauma Center.