Do you enjoy the thrill of tackling off-road terrain? All-terrain vehicles, or “ATVs” as they are more popularly known, are a popular recreational vehicle due to their relatively low cost, high speeds, and ease of use. Some who own large plots of property even use ATVs as small work tools due to the ease with which they navigate small spaces and terrain a truck couldn’t otherwise handle. While ATVs may be a lot of fun, they also present a large amount of inherent risk which many people may not recognize.
What happens if you get hurt while riding an ATV? Do you have any recourse, particularly if the accident was caused by another driver? It turns out that yes, you very well might. Just like a car, truck, or pedestrian accident, those injured in ATV accidents may be able to recover medical expenses, treatment costs, and other damages sustained in a crash for which someone else is liable.
Unlike a dirtbike or off-road motorcycle, crashes on an ATV are almost always serious because the vehicles don’t simply tip and come to rest where they are: they almost always happen at speed and result in the vehicle rolling over. This results in collisions with other riders, rolling over the driver, and many other hazards. Despite their inherently more stable tendencies, these vehicles can also be difficult to handle because of their weight and the inherently low-traction nature of off-road driving. Those who try to take a corner too fast might find the vehicle won’t turn as easily as they’d like, and they could wind up off the trail quickly.
Rules of the (Off) Road
Many people love the thrill of off-roading due to the freedom from rules and restrictions as well as the added challenge of scaling otherwise impassible terrain. However, whether you’re out blazing a new trail or tackling one that’s already well-traveled, there are some safety procedures you should know and follow to the best of your ability. Since off-road vehicles require a lot more skill and focus to drive safely, you should do everything in your power to ensure your safety and the safety of those you encounter while riding.
- If you encounter traffic going the opposite direction on the same trail, leave them plenty of room, slow down, pass them on the right (as though you were driving in a regular car), and signal how many remaining members there are in your party. If there are none remaining, hold up a closed fist to indicate “zero”.
- Never zoom around a blind corner at high speeds, and always stick to the right side unless you can clearly see the extent of the trail around the corner and know that it’s clear.
- Always wear safety gear, including long pants and long sleeves, close-toed shoes, gloves, and a certified off-road helmet with impact-resistant goggles.
- If you are on a trail that’s too narrow for vehicles to pass each other without stopping, pull over to the side as much as possible and allow the other riders to pass through first, especially if the trail on their side is bordered by a hazard like a downhill slope.
Those who fail to follow these guidelines could be held responsible in the event of an accident and serious injury. Because liability in an off-road environment may be more difficult to prove, it’s strongly advised you speak with an experienced Martin County personal injury attorney about your case and get the help you need with recovering compensation for your losses.Call Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates, PLLC today by dialing 866-675-4427 for a free case evaluation!