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The ATV Safety Institute offers both hands-on ATV rider courses and e-courses, which are free, self-paced, interactive online training programs that address basic ATV safety principles.

The ATV Safety Institute offers both hands-on ATV rider courses and e-courses, which are free, self-paced, interactive online training programs that address basic ATV safety principles.

 This site provides access to approved online ATV safety courses to help meet mandatory state-based education requirements. 

Check 3 GPS Ready Score

Y / N         1. Will you be wearing the appropriate safety gear (helmet, goggles, boots, long pants, long-sleeve shirt, and proper reflective gear if riding at night)?

 

 

Y / N         2. Are you familiar with the location and terrain where you will be riding?  

 

 

Y / N         3. If you plan on riding at night, do you ensure the headlight is working properly?  

 

 

Y / N         4. Have you accomplished formal training for climbing/rappelling? 

 

 

Y / N         5. Is it considered safe and is it legal to ride an ATV in the areas you normally ride?  

 

Y / N         6. Have you attended any ATV rider safety courses?  

 

Y / N         7. Before riding, do you perform a road check of the ATV—tires, brakes, lights, cables, fuel lines?

 

If you answered “no” to more than five questions, plan ways to mitigate the risk.

  

Source: Department of the Air Force, Pacific Air Forces, Attachment 1, PACAF High-Risk Activities (HRA) Guide, 27 April 2016. 

Check 3 GPS Minimum 'Must-Haves'

Gear

  • Helmet

  • Heavy, well-padded gloves

  • Boots or over-the-ankle work shoes

 

Plan

  • Before your first time operating an ATV, take a hands-on training course given by a competent instructor

  • Outfit your ATV with lights, reflectors and highly visible flags so it is easier to be seen

 

Skills

  • Know how to always keep your ATV under control; slow down whenever conditions demand it

  • Ride within your own limitations and those of your ATV

  • Keep the ATV load balanced

*Adapted from 12th Flying Training Wing, High Risk Activities Safety Briefing

Top Hazards to Mitigate

1. Running out of gas

Mitigate:  Check that you have a full tank of gas before leaving, and know how far a full tank takes you on your machine. It’s also a good idea to carry a small container of gas; even if you don't end up needing it yourself, you could help a fellow ATV rider who wasn't as prepared.

2. Breaking down in a remote location

Mitigate: Any time you undertake outside activities in remote locations, it is imperative to bring along some version of a survival kit. Common items include waterproof matches or a lighter, a knife, a first-aid kit, and emergency food and water. Other good items to have at the ready are a winch and tow, to pull yourself out of sticky situations, and a waterproof box for wallet, phone and keys in case of an emergency.

 

3. Flipping the ATV

Mitigate:  Four-wheeled ATVs are more stable than three-wheeled ones. Fully suspended ATVs handle better than front-only or tire-only suspended ones. Do not ride double on ATVs designed for single riders; the unique handling characteristics of the ATV require that the driver control the vehicle. Passengers hamper the operator's ability to shift body weight and position on the seat in order to steer and control the ATV. Do not overload the front and/or rear carriers, and keep the load balanced.

 

4. Darkness

Mitigate: ATV accidents occurring at night usually involve collisions with trees, rocks, fences or other stationary objects, as these objects come into view unexpectedly in the ATV’s headlight beam. Never “overdrive your headlight” in the sense that you should always be able to stop within the length of the headlight beam. Riding safely in the dark requires that you decrease your speed; wear reflective clothing; clean and test your headlights; pull off the trail if you have to stop; carry a flashlight or flare; and stay on familiar terrain and established trails. (Adapted from www.offroad-ed.com)

 

5. Getting lost/Riding through private property and angering owner

Mitigate: It’s best to plan and review your route before setting out. Various apps offer pre-loaded, downloadable or shared off-road maps, trails and route markers.

6. Riding in low visibility

Mitigate: Use lights, reflectors, and highly visible flags, so the ATV can be more easily seen. Since ATVs are small and low to the ground, they are not as visible as larger vehicles even in normal light conditions.

7. Inadequate safety equipment

Mitigate: Never operate an ATV without a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)-approved motorcycle helmet, eye protection, heavy gloves and boots. Long pants and a long-sleeved shirt or jacket are also recommended. Your basic travel toolkit should include a flashlight, tire-repair kit, low-pressure gauge, and portable jump box.

8. Rapidly changing weather conditions

Mitigate: Never operate an ATV without a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)-approved motorcycle helmet, eye protection, heavy gloves and boots. Long pants and a long-sleeved shirt or jacket are also recommended. Your basic travel toolkit should include a flashlight, tire-repair kit, low-pressure gauge, and portable jump box.

9. Peer pressure to act unsafely

Mitigate: Never operate an ATV without a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)-approved motorcycle helmet, eye protection, heavy gloves and boots. Long pants and a long-sleeved shirt or jacket are also recommended. Your basic travel toolkit should include a flashlight, tire-repair kit, low-pressure gauge, and portable jump box.

Fast Fact

  • Inexperienced drivers, in their first month of using an ATV, have 13 times the average risk of injury.

  • The risk of accidents is nearly twice as high with a three-wheeled ATV.

  • In nearly 30 percent of all fatal ATV accidents, alcohol use was a contributing factor.

  • One out of three ATV fatalities happens on paved roads.

ATV Safety Institute's "Golden Rules"

  1. Always wear a DOT-compliant helmet, goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots, and gloves.

  2. Never ride on paved roads, except to cross when done safely and permitted by law — another vehicle could hit you. ATVs are designed to be operated off-highway.

  3. Never ride under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.

  4. Never carry a passenger on a single-rider ATV, and no more than one passenger on an ATV specifically designed for two people.

  5. Ride an ATV that's right for your age.

  6. Supervise riders younger than 16; ATVs are not toys.

  7. Ride only on designated trails and at a safe speed.

  8. Take a hands-on ATV Rider Course and the free online e-course. Visit www.ATVsafety.org or call 800.887.2887.

Associations

ATV Safety Institute

The All-Terrain Vehicle Safety Institute (ASI), a not-for-profit division of the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA), was formed in 1988 to implement an expanded national program of all-terrain vehicle (ATV) safety education and awareness. ASI’s primary goal is to promote the safe and responsible use of ATVs, thereby reducing accidents and injuries that may result from improper ATV operation by the rider.

ASI is active in expanding and implementing ATV rider-training programs nationwide.