Summer is the most anticipated season of the year, when we get to take a break and spend time doing what we love most. That often means getting out in the open air on our favorite rides. Whether you’re excited for the longer days to drive your ATV or side-by-side around local trails, or you’re planning an off-road adventure in Moab, considering safety precautions and insurance coverage options will give you the peace of mind to enjoy a summer packed full of fun, worry-free adventure.
There are a few basic safety measures that are important to run through before hopping on your summer toy — especially if you’re bringing friends.
- Don’t drink and drive. Any amount of alcohol in your bloodstream can slow your reflexes and impact your ability to drive. You need your wits about you when you’re navigating unpredictable off-road terrain and driving an ATV, UTV, quad, dune buggy or side-by-side. So seriously, skip the sauce and soak in the natural beauty of your surroundings.
- Wear a helmet. ATV riders are at extra risk of being thrown off their vehicle and crushed beneath it. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, “In 2018, there were an estimated 81,800 ATV-related emergency department-treated injuries in the United States. An estimated 26% of these injuries involved children younger than 16 years of age.” Traumatic brain injuries are one of the most serious injuries sustained from ATV accidents, so please wear your helmet and make sure your passenger is wearing a helmet too.
- Don’t allow more riders than an ATV or UTV are designed to carry. While some ATVs are designed for two passengers, most are not. Some side-by-sides are designed for two, others are built for four. In a side-by-side only allow for as many people as there are seatbelts.
- Follow the rules. On national forest land, off-road and trail travel is prohibited unless specifically designated. So do your homework, use designated trail systems and off highway vehicle (OHV) recreation areas, and don’t trespass on privately owned land. Pro-tip: Check out the Bureau of Land Management’s Top BLM Motorized Recreational Opportunities interactive map for new trail ideas on public land.
- Be vigilant. Keep your legs and arms inside side-by-sides or UTVs at all times. Also, don’t ride side-saddle on your ATV. Straddle the seat and always keep both hands on the handlebars.
Now that you know how to maintain safety on the trail, it’s time to talk about insurance. Insurance for your ATV or UTV is required in most states and in many state parks and other public lands. If insurance isn’t required in your state, it’s still best practice to acquire a policy to protect your pocketbook and person. For information about licensing requirements and age restrictions for your state, call up or visit the website of your local DMV.
ATV/UTV insurance is a specialized policy designed for off-road vehicles that you need to acquire separately from home, auto or motorcycle insurance. Similar however to auto or motorcycle insurance, it may include liability protection, personal injury, bodily injury, collision, comprehensive, and uninsured/underinsured coverages. Like motorcycle insurance, ATV and UTV owners may also purchase specialized coverage options for accessories or added equipment, personal items and passenger liability insurance. Learn more about these coverage categories in our Beginner’s Guide to Motorcycle Insurance.
This content is for informational purposes only. Consult your actual insurance policy for details regarding terms, conditions, coverage, and exclusions.