5 Rookie ATV Rider Mistakes to Avoid
Learning how to properly care for your ATV and ride it safely like a pro takes time and experience.
Every ATV rider started out as a beginner and probably made some common rookie mistakes. If you're a novice rider, here are some beginner ATV riding mistakes to avoid so you can stay safe.
1. Going Too Fast Too Soon
Testing the limits of a new machine can be tempting. When the little voice in the back of your head says "let's see what this thing can do," don't listen to it. ATVs are known to be stable, but the feeling of being totally in control of one can be deceiving. Before you ride your ATV at full power, you should learn how to throttle correctly, how to shift if you're on manual, and how to corner. Hitting the throttle too hard without knowing the power of an ATV can cause one to get out from under you and loop over. A false sense of control can lead to injuries or worse. Give yourself time to understand the feel of your ATV so that you know what your machine (and you) are capable of.
2. Not Wearing a Helmet
"What helmet?" While the feeling of riding an ATV with the wind blowing in your hair sounds appealing, not wearing a helmet is perhaps the dumbest rookie mistake one could make. You should be wearing a helmet at all times, along with a whole complement of safety gear, including boots, gloves, and a chest and back protector. But no piece of ATV safety gear is more important than the helmet. Solid safety gear is crucial to avoiding common ATV injuries, and you can find ATV riding gear that fits your style and your budget, but get a helmet first!
3. Ignoring ATV Maintenance
ATVs are complex machines with lots of moving parts, heat stresses and load stresses. All of that combined requires maintenance work to keep your machine running at its best. While some ATV repair jobs are best left to the pros, at the very least you should learn how to do basic maintenance jobs such as changing the oil and replacing the air filter. Remember, ATVs are off-road machines designed to be driven in rough conditions and take a beating, so keeping up with the maintenance is essential to keeping your quad running, and for you to be able to transition from a rookie rider to a seasoned pro.
4. Leaving Your ATV Unattended
Your ATV is ripe for the picking when it's not in sight and not secured. Unfortunately, there's a robust market out there for stolen ATVs, so don't make the beginner mistake of leaving yours out in the open unguarded. Protect your investment by keeping your ATV in a garage or other secured storage facility. If you must leave your quad unattended for whatever reason, there are a number of ATV alarm systems and other security measures you can take to keep the crooks from riding off with your prized possession.
5. Getting Ahead of Yourself on the Trails
Trails can be demanding and unpredictable, and can present obstacles you might not be ready for. Be sure you know what to expect on the trail you're about to tackle. Take it slow if you're unfamiliar with what lies ahead, and be mindful of uneven ground or unexpected turns than can cause a rollover. A lot of modern ATVs have a cruise setting that allows you to run the ATV at a steady speed so you can concentrate on navigating the trail. If you're a beginner about to hit a new trail, start out slow and get the hang of it before you try to tear it up.
Avoiding mistakes as a beginner ATV rider ultimately comes down to not getting ahead of yourself. Follow the tips provided in this article, and ride along with seasoned pros so you can eventually become one yourself!