Tips for safe operation of ATVs

Economical, versatile and fun, all-terrain vehicles have long been indispensable tools on Canadian farms.

Economical, versatile and fun, all-terrain vehicles have long been indispensable tools on Canadian farms and ranches. But as the size, power and popularity of ATVs has increased, so too has the potential for serious injuries.

This National Farm Safety Week, why not review the facts about ATVs and make sure you and your family are riding safe?

“It doesn’t take much to roll an ATV,” warns Canada Safety Council’s resident off-road expert Mike Prud’homme. “And there’s nothing fun about an ATV rollover. If you have 600 pounds plus gear falling on you, it’s going to be hard to push off.”

If you use an ATV for work or recreation, follow these safety precautions to reduce your risk:

1. Train up. A few hours in a Canada Safety Council ATV course could save your life.

2. Suit up. Wear a helmet, eye protection, long pants, long sleeves, gloves and non-skid shoes for every ride.

3. Ride the right size. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Adult-sized ATVs are not appropriate for children under 16.

4. Ride by day. Even on familiar terrain, low light and reduced visibility will increase the chances of a mishap. Park your ATV after dark and in poor weather.

5. Never take passengers. Most ATVs are not designed for doubling. Do not attach passenger seats to your ATV.

When using ATVs for farm chores, be extra cautious when hauling or towing.

1. Lighten up. Check your owner’s manual for load limits and resist the temptation to over load. Use proper tie-downs to secure your load and properly distribute the weight. Weight distribution is extremely important. Any load will affect the performance and stability of the vehicle, so adjust your driving accordingly.

2. Don’t alter your ATV. Adding after-market passenger seats or other implements will affect the weight distribution and stability of the machine, increasing the likelihood of tip-over and rollover accidents.

Canada Safety Council

The Canada Safety Council is an independent, knowledge-based, charitable organization dedicated to the cause of safety. We provide national leadership in safety through information, education and collaboration. We are Canada’s voice and resource for safety.