Riding All Terrain Vehicles for fun and sport is quite popular here in Texas. There’s no question about it: ATVs are a blast. But just like Texans, ATVs can be rough and tough. Texas actually leads the nation in the number of ATV deaths. In just one year, there were 97,260 ATV-related injuries reported across the nation. As an ER, we definitely see a rise in the the warmer months when more people are vacationing and taking on outdoor adventures.
ATV injuries affect not only adults, but also children under the age of 16 (who shouldn’t have been riding ATVs in the first place). Fortunately, the number of casualties has been steadily declining over the past twelve years thanks to awareness and education of the risks.
To keep your summer safe and make sure you spend more time in the sun than you do in the ER, here are some ATV safety tips to follow.
Hospitality Health ER’s ATV Safety Tips
- Do not drive ATVs on paved roads. ATVs are designed to be driven only on off-road terrain, not paved surfaces. Because they are difficult to control on paved roads, there is a high risk of flipping over and colliding with other vehicles
- Do not allow a child under the age of 16 to drive or ride an adult ATV. Most children lack the skills, control, and discretion to operate adult ATVs. Never allow them to ride on one. If you want kids to join in on the fun, make sure you select an age-appropriate ATV that is designed for slower speeds.
- Do not drive an ATV with a passenger or ride as a passenger unless it is designed for additional people. Having more people on an ATV than it can handle can prevent the driver from maintaining control. Children under the age of 6 should never get on an ATV as a passenger.
- Always wear protective gear when riding an ATV. Protective gear such as helmets, goggles, boots, and gloves can reduce the degree of an injury and even save your life. Wearing a long-sleeved shirt and over-the-ankle boots may protect you from cuts and scrapes from rocks and branches.
- Do not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs that impair your driving ability.
- Get trained to ride. Take a course by the ATV Safety Institute by a qualified instructor. Hands-on training can provide first time riders the skills and confidence to handle the unpredictable while off-roading.
If you’re partaking in high-risk sports or adventures, make sure you know where the nearest ER is. If you’re staying in East Texas, Hospitality Health ER in Longview and Tyler is open every holiday and every day of the year, around the clock.
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