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Hill Handling Tips for ATV Riding

It is exhilarating to ride your ATV/UTV on different terrain, especially in hilly areas. The ATV provides you with a sense of freedom. Here are some tips to improve your riding abilities on hilly terrain.

General Precautions

Give heed to common sense. Some hills are too steep even for an ATV/UTV. Be conscious of your visibility field; it's risky to drive fast over a crest without seeing what is on the other side. Slow down until you have clear view of the downward slope.


While climbing a slope, shift to a lower gear to avoid choking the engine and stalling. Shift your body weight forward. The steeper the climb, the more lean required. Release the throttle momentarily to avoid lifting your front wheels.

If you lose acceleration while shifting gears, make a U-turn and ride downhill in the same low gear. If you do not have enough momentum to make a U-turn, apply the brakes and come to a stop. Never roll backward downhill. Apply the parking brakes, dismount from the vehicle, and, with assistance, physically turn the vehicle. If you happen to roll back, do not apply your rear brakes suddenly; this can cause toppling. Instead, gradually apply the front brakes until your ATV halts.


Before starting on the downward climb, inspect the terrain, ideally choosing a straight path with few obstacles. Shift to a lower gear, and shift your weight back. You will gain momentum as you descending, so keep your speed low and under control by gradually braking as needed. If riding with a passenger, make sure they mirror your weight shifts.


Sometimes, the angle is too steep. If the terrain is too loose for your ATV tires to grip, go back the way you came. While traversing inclines, lean toward the uphill side; if your ATV is unstable, dismount on the uphill side. Don't risk rolling for fear of dismounting. As always, be safe and enjoy your ride. 

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