UTV accidents aren’t uncommon. When you look at the purpose of these powerful machines and the way they are built, it isn’t hard to see why. Many of us will have a UTV as an essential vehicle on our land. They are effective modes of transport for rough terrain and perfect for transporting cargo and feed. But the sad truth is that we run the risk of being another addition to those UTV accident statistics. At best, you might be shaken with a few bumps and bruises. At worst, you might not make it out alive.
The difference between minor injuries and fatal injuries relies heavily on the UTV safety equipment you use. You can’t be too careful. In order to ride safe while working on your land, you need to consider the following tips for UTV driver and passenger safety.
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1. Get a safety helmet
This must be the number one consideration here. If you travel across bumpy terrain at high speed, you run the risk of accidents and head injuries. If the vehicle overturns then you need that secure protection to prevent lacerations, a cracked skull, brain damage or even fatal injuries.
There are lots of tough UTV safety helmets out there that also look great. This should never be about fashion. But, if you are worried about appearances, there are sporty and stylish models. Also, consider the security of the fastenings and the strength of the shells.
2. Get some eye protection
If your UTV safety helmet doesn’t have some form of visor on it, you need eye protection. UTV goggles will help protect your eyes from damage as you ride. The last thing that you need is dirt and sand spraying in them as you work. This could not only damage your eyes but limit your ability to see. Before you know it, you might be unable to see hazards or handle the vehicle.
Consider eye protection with a secure elastic band, no gaps around the sides and optimal visibility. You may also find that some interchangeable lenses help. You can switch to a UV lens to block out bright sunlight.
3. Consider gloves and other protective gear
If you want to go all out with your kit, there are other wearable items of UTV safety gear out there. Padded, close-fitting jackets can offer a little extra protection if you do fall. UTV safety gloves are ideal for a good grip on the wheel without damaging your hands. If this works for motorcyclists, then you can wear them on your UTV.
4. Install the right seatbelt
One of the great things about a UTV is the mandatory seatbelts. This makes them safer than ATVs that don’t require such restraints. It also means that there is no excuse not to have safe working seatbelts onboard the vehicle. These UTV seatbelts are as important as car seatbelts. They could stop you from being thrown out of the vehicle in an accident.
You must install something better than a lap belt here. A strong 5-point harness will provide security across the whole body. Just clip yourself in, adjust it appropriately and off you go. Choose a model that is proven to be tough and easy to adjust.
5. Install a strong roll cage
The roll cage is as the name suggests. It is a cage that forms a frame over the top of the UTV. It should take the brunt of the damage and protect the vehicle if it rolls over. This security around the sides and over your head is essential. If you roll the UTV with the harness on then you are less likely to make contact with the ground.
The stronger the roll cage the better. You want something that won’t break under that blunt force. Look for a professional installation with the best possible materials.
6. Consider adding a door
Not all UTV users like the idea of adding doors. Some will say that they are too restrictive. How can you hop in and out with a door in the way? Well, it is worth the inconvenience of opening a door if it stops you from being thrown from the vehicle as it overturns. There is also the fact that a door can keep a lot of the mud and rain out too.
Again, you will find lots of guides on how to make a UTV door online. They offer practical tips for cheap solutions. But the best approach is a more professional installation. You need a door that is reliable, secure and will take the impact before you do.
7. Add some hand holds
Hand holds on a UTV are such a simple but effective way to improve the safety of your vehicle. The idea here is that you have a handle and a Velcro strap. Attach the strap to the frame of the UTV to offer something to grab onto. While you should aim to have both hands on the wheel, this does provide extra security as needed if things get unsteady.
The best straps have strong enough to stay in place despite the grip of the user. They are also textured with a nice feel so that they are easier to hold. The last thing you want is rough plastic digging into your hand. There should also be two in the pack, which leads to the next point.
8. Don’t forget about passenger safety
One of the great things about your rugged UTV is that you can have a passenger alongside you. A fellow employee or relative can come along and help with your tasks. But, you can’t bring along just anyone. Make sure that your assistant is old enough and responsible enough. Give them a safety briefing about riding on a UTV. Make sure they understand the power of the machine and the risks.
9. Provide a safe passenger seat
All the UTC safety precautions on the passenger side must be the same on the driver’s side. You can’t take any short cuts here just because they aren’t behind the wheel. If you decide to add safety doors or netting to your side, provide the same for them. The same is true for any handles to hold on to. Younger riders may appreciate this if they aren’t used to the bumpy ride. Finally, make sure that their seatbelt is secure and functional. Check for wear and damage. Replace it whenever necessary.
10. Provide the right passenger UTV safety gear
Finally, the same rules apply to the gear worn by passengers on a UTV. If you insist on wearing a helmet, goggles, and gloves for your own safety and protection, offer the same to your passenger. They still need to be able to see and protect their eyes from grit and sand. They still need padding and protection if there is an accident.
Follow these tips and all UTV driving guidelines.
The safe use of a UTV comes down to more than just the protection worn and the quality of a seatbelt. You must make sure that you are always on top of all important UTV safety considerations. This means adhering to the following practices to ride safe.
- Be mindful of the terrain and any ditches in the area
- Watch out for other vehicles and people in the vicinity of the UTV
- Watch your speed, especially when turning
- Always keep your legs and arms inside the vehicle
- Make sure that all cargo is secure and centered on the back of the UTV
- Don’t ride with minors that can’t reach the handholds
- Don’t allow passengers anywhere but in the secure passenger seat
When you take ownership of a UTV and get behind the wheel, you are responsible for all those involved. Don’t take that responsibility lightly.
Always be prepared and don’t take anything for granted
These tips are essential for anyone that wants to use a UTV. The safety gear really can save lives for both you and your passenger. The better the gear, the better your chances. That is why all UTV drivers are encouraged to invest in quality items for both themselves and their passengers. There is no point in taking any chances because you don’t know what is around the corner.
You might believe that you are a safe and considerate driver with good UTV safety knowledge. The problem is that you can’t always prepare for freak accidents. You can’t guarantee the weather or the conditions on your land. You can’t predict the behavior of your animals. Invest in these UTV safety precautions in the hope that you never actually need them.
Research your best options for the safest UTV possible
These 10 safety tips for kitting out your UTV are just the starting point. There are lots of companies out there that can help you customize your vehicle with some great accessories and features. Compare the different options carefully to find items you are comfortable with. Take your time and don’t compromise on safety for the sake of looks or cost.