All-terrain vehicles, or ATVs, are a popular type of recreational vehicle in Pennsylvania. Driving one of these machines requires skill, practice and most importantly, awareness of the proper safety measures. The types of roads that ATVs are driven on are rife with holes, steep slopes and other hazards, making it particularly important to be aware of the measures that can be taken to help avoid them.

Proper equipment for ATVs

The first thing every ATV driver should do is to check that the vehicle is fully functional and is equipped for safe operation. The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources advises that the sound produced by ATVs needs to be managed. As an ATV must not produce sound in excess of 99 decibels, the muffler should be inspected to make sure it is in good condition.

Sometimes ATV drivers will need to make a sudden stop. A good rule of thumb for deceleration, when going at least 20 miles per hour, is a rate of 14 feet per second. Drivers should make sure that the vehicle's brake system is able to accomplish this rate.

Drivers may want to enjoy their ATVs in low-visibility or night-time conditions. In order for an ATV to be safely noticeable in dark environments, the Pennsylvania DCNR recommends that a tail light should be seen from a distance of 500 feet in darkness, and that it be red. Well-lit tail lights can help prevent the risk of being struck from the rear. A space of at least 100 feet ahead should be lit up by white headlights to a degree that makes other vehicles and people visible.

Driving ATVs with care

Once it has been ascertained that the ATV itself is safe to operate, a driver should be prepared to make the right decisions when moving through different types of terrain. The following strategies are provided by the ATV Safety Institute:

  • Drivers should stay alert and look out for hazards. This should include choosing a path of travel that is safe by scanning the terrain ahead.
  • To be able to see potential obstacles, riders should slow down their speed.
  • It is important to understand the chosen terrain before setting out.
  • Once a hazard has been detected, a driver should keep scanning the environment without fixating on one obstacle.

Keeping the above precautions in mind will help lower the likelihood of an unexpected crash.

Those injured in a recreational vehicle crash in Pennsylvania may want to pursue compensation to deal with pain and suffering, medical bills, and other expenses. They should consult the experienced personal injury lawyers at Leisawitz Heller to explore options for financial compensation.