ATV riding is a fast-paced activity that allows you to experience challenging terrains and explore the outdoors in a new way. Many sparked an interest to try out ATV riding because it is easier to hop on board than dirtbikes. Being a four-wheel vehicle makes it beginner-friendly and more manageable to control with less chance of crashing. ATVs are highly versatile, giving you plenty of options for the kind of terrain and weather conditions you can drive on.
ATV riding is a lot of fun and excitement, leaving riders with a feeling of adrenaline rush depending on the level of challenge that trails offer. However, mistakes can happen that may result in crashes and injuries. Here are some common mistakes you need to avoid to have a safe and satisfying ATV riding experience.
1. Choosing The Wrong ATV
The first mistake is using an ATV that may be unsuitable to the size and skill level of the rider. Whether you buy or rent an ATV, you should select the correct size for you. This vehicle comes in a variety of sizes and different categories. If you’re a beginner, refrain from choosing a 1000cc ATV because it may be too large and powerful to handle and may cause an injury when you make a wrong move. It is also applicable when choosing a quad for children. Consider an automatic transmission with something under 70cc to over 90cc, depending on their age.
2. Not Wearing Proper Riding Gear
Proper riding gear is a must since your safety is the top priority when ATV riding. If you want to leave the trail unscathed from bruises and a possible accident, consider wearing a high-quality helmet and protective clothing with gloves and goggles. These riding gear can drastically reduce your chances of sustaining any injuries. You can also reinforce safety by adding ATV accessories like nerf bars to stabilize your feet and prevent constant slip off the footpeg that may lead to your feet getting caught by the rear tires.
3. Driving On The Wrong Trail
Not all trails are suitable for ATV riding. You can get stuck in a tough spot when you ride on much smaller trails appropriate for dirt bikes. If you’re a beginner, try to stick to the recommended trails for ATVs. Most trails like these are already made and customized for a safe yet exciting ride. It is to avoid getting off-balanced and losing control when taken to the rugged terrain you’re not yet ready for. ATVs are not indestructible, so it is better to know their limitations before using them to climb steep rocky terrain and deep bogs. Ensure that the ATV tires are also appropriate to the terrain for surface grip and maximum traction.
4. Failing to Understand Center of Gravity
Some riders fail to consider the center of gravity of their ATV. Even though ATV is a four-wheel vehicle, you still need to balance the vehicle when riding it. Each ATV has a different balance point to keep your body upright. You have to identify this balance point to shift your weight accordingly to prevent tipping forward or backward.
Balance and stability are crucial in ATV riding since rolling over is common when mistakes are made. There are plenty of ways to end up underneath the quad. When you hit the gas without caution, the front may jerk upward, throwing you onto your back and turning the ATV upside down. It can also happen when you try to conquer a really steep slope and a thick and slippery muddy terrain.
5. Being Too Confident
Overconfidence can lead to fatal injuries in ATV riding. Riders who neglect practice and instructions, thinking they all got it under control, risk themselves of crashing their ATV. It is easy to make errors and lose control when you’re too confident, especially when skill and experience are lacking.
Avoid accelerating and immediately heading straight into the terrain. Going too fast too soon can end up losing balance when entering an uneven surface and flipping the quad resulting in damage. Get to know the feel of your ATV and how the brakes, throttle, and shifter respond.
Do not attempt performing stunts and tricks no matter how simple they look. While it seems fun, it can be very dangerous for you and other riders on the trail. It took years of practice before expert riders can pull off gravity-defying stunts. Focus on learning how to control the ATV and acquire more experience before testing any tricks. Make sure that you’re under the supervision of an expert when you are ready to practice stunts.
6. Disregarding Your Surroundings
When riders overlook their surroundings, they fail to notice any obstacles in their path. They may run over a rut causing them to bounce off their seat and toss debris damaging the underside and tires of the ATV. Pay attention to your environment to prevent unexpected mishaps while ATV riding. Be on the lookout for unpredictable elements on your paths like other riders and even wildlife to avoid crossing paths or a possible collision.
7. Going Alone
Riding alone can be dangerous and should be avoided, especially for beginners. You can get yourself stuck on terrain or get lost and stranded in the middle of nowhere. It would be best if you had a lifeline when these unexpected events happen. They can pull you out of a tough spot using an ATV winch when you get yourself stuck. They can also apply first aid when you need medical attention due to an accident. Things can go wrong no matter how much you’ve prepared but having an experienced rider accompany you can make ATV riding a better and safer experience.
8. Ignoring Maintenance
ATV requires routine maintenance to function properly and prevent unexpected breakdowns. Neglecting regular maintenance can cause long-lasting damage that will cost you more money for repairs and replacements. Check your owner’s manual for details about the routine maintenance that your ATV needs.
Thoroughly conduct an inspection of the ATV before and after riding. It helps by seeing any wear and tear of parts that may need immediate repairs. This can eliminate the potential danger a broken part can cause while riding. Clean the ATV of mud and dirt after riding to ensure that it retains its good condition.
Don’t let these common mistakes sour your ATV riding experience. Learn to handle your ATV by practicing consistently. Take it slow and steady until you’ve built enough confidence and be comfortable in controlling the ATV to your liking. Have better judgment when faced with obstacles such as hills that are too steep and terrain that is too deep. Just like driving any other vehicle, careless behavior can put you in danger. ATV riding is an exhilarating outdoor activity. Make it fun and safe so you can keep coming back for more.