July 15, 2024

ATV safety tips: Checklist for staying safe on the farm

Wearing a helmet is must when it comes to ATV safety.

BLACKSBURG, Va. — ATV-related injuries and fatalities are increasing, according to experts at Virginia Tech.

An average of 500 persons die and another 100,000 are seriously injured each year while operating ATVs.

Within occupations that use ATVs, the agricultural industry claims 60% of ATV-related fatalities.

Top Tips

1. Control your speed. Speed is a major contributor in incidents. Speed affects your reaction time and handling abilities.

2. Wear your helmet. Wearing your DOT- or Snell-certified helmet can be a lifesaver. Other helmets that are not certified may not provide the same protection.

3. Know your terrain. Know where you go. Terrain can change quickly and you may not be able to react. If you drive over new terrain, go slow until you know. Be aware of other hazards such as old wire fencing, broken fence posts, rocks, tree roots and stumps, and holes created by wildlife.

4. Avoid steep slopes. Know what your ATV is capable of doing by reviewing the operator’s manual. Until you are familiar with the handling of your ATV, use caution. Understand the center of gravity for the ATV.

Virginia Tech also shared an ATV safety checklist during National Farm Safety and Health Week.

Farm ATV Safety Checklist

Do an ATV safety inspection daily, prior to use. Use the pre-ride checklist provided by the ATV manufacturer, if possible. Otherwise check, at a minimum:

• Tire condition and inflation.

• Throttle, clutch and brake operation.

• Battery, electrical system and lights.

• Fuel, oil, coolant and brake fluids.

• Air filter, exhaust system.

• Chassis, steering and suspension.

• Transmission, including two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive shifting, if equipped.

• All accessories or modifications are manufacturer-approved.

• Loads are within the ATV’s limit and properly secured.

• Slow-moving vehicle emblem, if operating on roadways.

Operator Checks

• Are you wearing proper personal protective equipment? Helmet (DOT- or Snell-approved), with eye protection; long pants and long-sleeve shirt; over-the-ankle boots; gloves; and eye protection, if helmet is not of the full-face type.

• Are you familiar with the ATV you will be using?

• Are you familiar with the terrain and potential obstacles?

• Do you have a check-in procedure and a means of calling for help?

Learn more at https://tinyurl.com/4xwdtp9z.

Erica Quinlan

Erica Quinlan

Field Editor