One of the great things about Texas is the vast amount of nature waiting to be explored; and, in the summertime Texans across the state flock to outdoor activities including riding all terrain vehicles or ATVs. While riding ATVs can be an enjoyable experience, without proper riding knowledge, riders are more likely to be involved in a serious ATV accident. Considering Texas is the worst state in the union for ATV accidents, it’s important that all riders are aware of the dangers and risks associated with this summertime activity and follow ATV riding tips.
Common Causes of Texas ATV Accidents
Riding ATVs is a popular pastime that unfortunately comes with a higher risk of injury or death than most people realize. A possible explanation for riders’ naivety and false sense of security could stem from the vehicle’s name. While off-road vehicles are labeled as “all terrain,” ATVs are sensitive machines designed for off-roading rather than pavement riding. This, along with several other misconceptions, contributes to preventable catastrophic ATV accidents every year.
Lack of Rider Education
Unlike a passenger vehicle, large truck, or motorcycle, Texas does not require a driver’s education course or a license to ride an ATV. Texas law does require riders to have a safety certificate if they operate an ATV on public property or beaches; however, enforcement of this law is varied. Simply put, while safety courses are available, most operators do not receive formal ATV driver’s education or have to demonstrate driving skills before ownership. This leads to preventable mistakes and driving errors that result in serious accidents.
Improper Use of Vehicle
ATVs are specially designed for off-roading and not equipped to navigate paved roads or highways. Additionally, riders can put occupants in great danger by allowing multiple passengers in a vehicle. Unless an ATV manufacturer states a model is equipped to support multiple riders at once, an ATV should never hold multiple passengers as the weight and design of the vehicle can cause it to easily flip or roll over.
Under no circumstances should a rider ever operate an ATV if they have been drinking and/or are otherwise impaired. Just as a operating a motor vehicle or motorcycle while impaired is extremely dangerous, an ATV is no different. Similar to the dangers of operating a motorcycle while impaired, ATVs lack physical protection for riders, and considering the vehicles are intended for rough and uneven terrain, the injuries sustained in ATV accidents are severe, life-altering, and even fatal.
Safe ATV Riding Tips
Now that riders are familiar with the common mistakes made when riding ATVs, the next step in ensuring a safe and fun summer is taking further precaution by practicing the following ATV riding tips:
- Riders should always wear proper protective gear while riding, including a helmet, eye protection, long sleeves, long pants, boots, and gloves.
- Riders should never operate an ATV on highways or paved roads except when necessary to cross.
- Riders should never allow passengers on an ATV unless the manufacturer has stated it’s safe for multiple occupants.
- Riders should never operate an ATV while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Riders should operate an ATV that is compatible with their size – height and weight – in order to best control it.
- Riders under the age of 16 should not ride unsupervised.
- Riders should refresh their driver’s safety knowledge and obtain a safety certificate before operating an ATV.
ATV riders can find more information on safe ATV riding tips from the ATV Safety Institute.
Corpus Christi ATV Accident Lawyer
Summertime should be a fun time of the year, when friends and family can enjoy activities together. By practicing safe ATV riding tips, riders can help ensure the safety of their friends and family. Sadly, ATVs are often viewed as toys rather than the high-powered machines that they are, and this mindset results in terrible ATV accidents every year. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed as the result of an ATV accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Contact Corpus Christi ATV accident lawyer John Flood today to discuss your case at no cost. There is limited time to act following a Texas ATV accident, so don’t delay.