In recent years, the use of all-terrain vehicles has become increasingly popular as a form of outdoor entertainment. There are several reasons why adults and children enjoy getting out into the fresh air on an ATV, and there are also potential risks (queue sad music). We’re not here to tell families that they should not hop on to their beloved ATV. Not by a long shot! What we are here to do is help families cope with injuries if they occur. Additionally, we are happy to share suggestions with outdoors-loving individuals, so their risk of injury declines.
Understanding Risk is Step #1
An all-terrain vehicle can weigh up to 700 pounds and go as fast as 50 miles per hour. Statistics indicate the tipping and toppling over are two of the most common factors in accidents involving ATVs. This could be related more to the design of three- and four-wheeled vehicles than their weight or speed. In general, ATVs have a narrow wheelbase and higher center, which means safety is mainly in the hands of the driver. If you are interested in using an ATV for summer fun, we suggest taking time to learn how to maneuver your vehicle before hitting any hillside.
Safety Tips for ATV Fun
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, in collaboration with the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America and the Orthopaedic Trauma Association, has developed a few recommendations for safe ATV use, Including:
- Daylight hours are the best time to ride ATVs, especially in areas where the terrain is more varied. Because visibility decreases after sunset, accidents are more likely to occur.
- Use single-rider vehicles appropriately. Adding a second rider to such an ATV increases the potential for tipping and turning over.
- Refrain from drinking and driving. Many of the accident-related ATV deaths that have occurred involve alcohol use.
- Anyone driving or riding on an ATV should wear a helmet. Boots, long pants, gloves, and goggles are also necessary.
- Children and teens allowed to operate an ATV or motorcycle should only use age- and size-appropriate models. Children of all ages should be supervised at all times when operating an ATV.
- ATV use is safest for individuals who have undergone hands-on training and can demonstrate competence and sound judgment.
Many of the patients who visit our New Jersey orthopedic practice love the outdoors and activities like skiing and riding all-terrain vehicles. Our training and experience enable us to assist them with accidental injuries. For more information on our services, contact our office at (973) 942-1315.