How to Stay Safe When UTV Trail Riding
Safe UTV trail riding allows you to get out to some of the most remote areas, and makes sure you get home in one piece. If you’re not wanting to strap on your boots and take a long walk, the UTV will get you there in no time.
You don’t always need to take a utility vehicle safety course to practice safe riding. These courses are well-designed for those looking for a thorough introduction, but we have 9 top tips on UTV safety that will help you out onto the trail even faster.
Wear Your Safety Gear
No matter how long or short your ride is, strap on the right safety gear to add a higher level of safety when heading out to ride.
From head to toe, you should be well-equipped to ride your UTV with a helmet, long pants and long sleeved shirts, pants, and over-the-ankle boots. Covering up protects your body from anything unexpected.
Practice Proper Trail Etiquette
Proper utility vehicle safety requires you to think of others on their own ride. A lot of the time you need to remember that you are sharing the trail. There’s a couple of rules to follow that help everyone out there stay safe that are taught at any UTV rider safety training.
Vehicles coming downhill have the right of way. It’s much harder to stop when coming down, so yield to those with gravity working against them.
Slow down and communicate with other riders. If you’re passing someone, let them know what you’re planning on doing and slow down to go by.
Don’t take up the whole trail when you stop, especially in blind spots like sharp curves.
Just like on the road, stay to the right to avoid any head-on collisions.
Take Slopes with Care
Slopes are where most riders can easily lose control. There are a couple of main points to follow when heading up or down a steep angle.
Move your body forward when headed uphill. This provides more stability and keeps your UTV on the ground, rather than rearing backwards like an upset stallion.
Just the opposite, when headed downhill, shift your weight backwards over the rear wheels to avoid bringing everything over the handlebars.
Tackle climbs in a lower gear, then work to build momentum up.
Make Sure to Plan Ahead and Pack Right
Everything you need to get home should be with you throughout your entire ride. Whether that’s food, lights, water, or any first aid supplies, make sure it’s on your list and packed on your ride.
Tow Your Cargo Correctly
Weight distribution is key in utility vehicle safety training. Properly towing cargo with a UTV can let you get everything you need out into the depths of the wild, but it’s necessary to tow safely to avoid any rollovers.
Ensure that your UTV is rated to tow what you’re trying to take with you. Check the owner’s manual first, and then the internet.
Distribute weight evenly in your tow load ensuring a low center of gravity.
Tie everything down. As soon as something falls, you lose the distribution you worked hard to achieve.
Use your engine to help brake. Shift to a lower gear in downhill scenarios rather than relying on a harsh braking that can jolt everything.
Just like when passing other users, there are a lot of times that you can slow down on the trail. For example, once the darkness of the day’s end starts to settle in, you should be easing up on the throttle.
Obstacles jump out at you during the night. Even with the best headlights available, it’s more dangerous to ride at night, so just go slowly.
Keep Your Arms and Legs Inside the Vehicle
A basic UTV rider safety course will tell you that riding around with your arms and legs flapping can be fun, but it certainly doesn’t allow you to stay safe. Keep your arms and legs tight to your body in order to not catch any branches whizzing by or bushes underneath.
Stay Off the Pavement
UTVs are made for the trail. Operating them on the pavement will work, but they aren’t designed for that. Out of all UTV safety tips, it’s easiest to remember to use the vehicle as it was meant to be used.
Get the Right Vehicle
There are so many different makes and models out there for you to choose from. Before you even get a UTV, know what you’ll be using it for. If you get the right UTV for the right job, everything is guaranteed to be smoother in all aspects of your ride.