Terrain Tips for Your ATV
August 30, 2017
Tips & Advice
ATV's are made for tough terrain; as always, we recommend exercising caution and observing the utmost safety measures before attempting anything new. Always ride with an experienced rider and wear proper safety gear. The following suggestions are general and not to be used as steadfast rule.
Choose your terrain wisely and make sure your ATV is suited with the proper tires for the terrain. Speed should correlate with experience, difficulty, visibility and operating conditions.
Muddy or Wet
ATVs are built for muddy trails and shallow waters; avoid swift currents and deep water. Both will flood the engine. Remember: your footrests will become slippery, so you will need to adjust your behavior for less firm footing. Your ATV manual indicates the water depth safe for operation. Always follow operator manual instructions.
When stream crossing, aim for banks with gradual inclines and declines. Look for submerged obstacles and sharp rocks. When exiting water, test your brakes; you'll want to make sure they've maintained proper engagement. Note that you will need to maneuver your body weight differently on the bike under wet conditions. Proceed slowly with caution.
Sand can trick your riding instincts. Softer sand can delude riders into a false sense of security; maintain cautious driving and avoid sand with vegetation when wet. Obstacles are more difficult to locate when the sun is directly overhead due to the absence of shadows. Shifting sand can be difficult to locate and predict; monitor the landscape for razorbacks and slip faces, two conditions which pose additional risk to the rider.
Winter conditions can change quickly with little warning. Stick to firm snow or trails that have recently been groomed for riding. Wear proper warm gear and pack emergency safety supplies. Check the forecast and do not go off-roading in deep snow. View our tips for riding your ATV in winter.
Most fatalities involving ATVs occur while crossing highways and paved roads. Drivers likely won't be watching for ATVs, so it's rider responsibility to take every precaution. Come to a complete stop. Check that the way is clear. If there are hills that block your view, locate to a better vantage point. Know that your tires will perform much differently on pavement and account for that in your maneuvers.
As always, be safe, take precautions, and enjoy your ride.