Stay safe on the ATV trails this year!

The snow is clearing, the weather is warming, and it’s ATV season again in Ontario! For many Ontarians, the start of spring means a return to the trails, but for the province’s ATV accident lawyers, it means a drastic uptick in deaths and serious injuries. Nearly 3,000 Canadians were hospitalized with injuries from ATV accidents in 2017, and 22 people were killed in Ontario, alone.

ATVing is a healthy and exciting way to spend a summer day – but it’s not without risks. Here are a few safety tips to keep you on the trails and out of the hospital this season.

Ride fully equipped. Don’t skip the safety gear when you hit the trails. Proper helmets, goggles, boots, and gloves can be the difference between a minor accident and a serious injury.

Inspect your ride. Before you head out, perform a thorough check of your vehicle. Inspect the tires for wear and tear; check the rims for damage; make sure your controls are connected and your cables are intact; check the chain for weak links and sprockets for broken teeth. An ATV in good shape will keep you in good shape.

Ride with a buddy. Everyone from novice riders to experienced ATV accident lawyers know ATVing can be risky. Riding with a friend or two is a great way to reduce risk – and it’s more fun, too! A riding partner will be there to help if you run out of gas, experience a mechanical malfunction, or suffer an injury in an accident.

Stay sober. This goes without saying, and yet it has to be repeated: riding while intoxicated on drugs or alcohol exponentially increases your risk of being in an accident. Don’t ride your off-road vehicle if you’ve been drinking or using drugs.

Stay awake. Fatigue has a similar effect on drivers as drugs and alcohol: it reduces reaction time, increases distraction, and makes you more likely to commit an error. If you find yourself growing tired on your ATV, pull over for some food and a drink of water or coffee.

Don’t overload your ride. If you’ve got a one-person ATV, don’t ride it with two people. If you’ve got a two-person ATV, don’t ride it with three or four. These limits are there for a reason, and exceeding them increases your risk of injury.

Ride the right size. Different ATVs are designed for different passengers. Some are made for young people, others for adults. Make sure your kids, if they’re old enough to ride at all, are on the right size vehicle.

Use common sense: slow down and obey the rules of the trail. Most ATV accidents happen due to human error. For an injury-free ATV season, adhere to speed limits, remain aware of your surroundings, be cautious and respectful of other vehicles, and avoid driving recklessly.

If you or someone you know suffers a serious injury on the ATV trails this year, contact Will Davidson LLP to talk with our team of experienced ATV accident lawyers.

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