Side by Side Safety: 8 Helpful Tips for Operating a UTV

safety tips

Riding in a UTV can be tons of fun… but it’s not without its dangers. As such, taking safety precautions is of utmost importance. 

We’ve already discussed some UTV safety tips in our article, 10 Tips on UTV Safety, but those only cover the bare minimum. There are a number of other precautions you should be taking as well. 

Wondering what they are? Then read on. Here are 8 helpful safety tips for operating a UTV. 

1. Practice Good Etiquette on the Trail

When you ride UTVs, you can ride in one of two areas. One is a piece of private property. The other is a public trail. 

If you’re riding the latter, you need to practice good trail etiquette at all times. You’re going to be riding amongst others, and you’re all going to be traveling at high speeds. If you don’t practice good trail etiquette, you will increase the risk of a collision. 

Read the signs that are posted in the area, travel slowly around corners, keep your distance, communicate with fellow riders, and yield to vehicles that are smaller than yours. You can learn more about trail etiquette by reading this

2. Drive Amongst Others

When hitting the trail, you’re strongly advised against going it alone. As you know, UTVs are prone to accidents. And if you’re involved in an accident, you want to be sure that there’s someone else around to help you. 

After all, UTVing takes place away from most of civilization. You could be in the woods or in the desert, miles from the closest street or neighborhood. 

Ideally, you’ll take a partner along with you. However, another option is to just visit a heavily frequented trail. This way, should an accident occur, someone will shortly notice that you need assistance. 

3. Eat Before Riding

Driving a UTV may not be the equivalent of running a marathon but it still takes a lot out of you physically and mentally. It’s certainly not as laid-back as a leisurely drive on a back road. 

For this reason, before taking off on your UTV, you need to make sure that you’ve eaten. You’re going to need plenty of energy so that you can keep your wits about you on the trail. 

Riding UTVs requires great vigilance and you can’t be vigilant if you’re weak and distracted. 

4. Keep Your Arms in the UTV

When riding your UTV, you might have the urge to stick your arm out at times. Rest assured, this is a horrible idea. 

Why? Because, when riding in a UTV, you’re moving at high speeds over rough terrains. One bad bump and your UTV could call fall on its side; if your arm is outside of the vehicle, it could become crushed. 

UTVs are designed to absorb impact upon crashing and are constructed in a way such that they enclose those that are inside. Trust your vehicle to protect you, don’t try to break your fall, and you’ll likely be alright. 

5. Resist the Urge to Do Donuts

Ah, donuts. We human beings love them. Whether we’re having them for breakfast are or turning them inside of a vehicle, they’re nothing short of exhilarating. 

But when it comes to UTVs, donuts should be a no-no. See, UTVs aren’t built to turn donuts. They’re too tall and their suspensions are too high. If you try to turn donuts in a UTV, there’s about a 50% chance of your vehicle falling over and of you getting injured. 

Instead, you should stick to the trail. Try to keep the wheel relatively straight and try not to jerk it around corners. 

6. Know How to Handle the Slopes

As was just noted, UTVs are fairly tall vehicles. As such, they have the potential to tip over. This is particularly true when it comes to riding on slopes. This is why, before taking off in your UTV, you need to make sure that you know how to handle traveling up and down slopes

When traveling up slopes, you need to move your weight forward so as to keep weight off the back of the vehicle. When moving down slopes, you need to do the opposite. 

Take slopes slowly, starting in a low gear and shifting up as needed. Hitting a slope at a high speed can very easily result in an accident, which could, of course, also result in an injury. 

7. Take It Slowly After Dark

There’s nothing wrong with driving a UTV after darkness falls. UTVs have headlights for a reason. 

However, you should take special precautions when driving in dark conditions. In particular, you should slow down. 

Darkness makes it difficult to process your surroundings. So, if you’re going too fast, you run the risk of hitting unexpected slopes or trees or rocks or otherwise. 

Riding a UTV in the dark should be more about functionality than fun. You should use your UTV to get you to where you’re going but should resist the urge to ride like a wild person. 

8. Stay Off Public Roads

You should never, under any circumstances, ride your UTV on a public road. In fact, most areas have laws against the practice. 

Riding on a public road is dangerous not only for you but for those around you as well. You’ll be difficult for other drivers to see, you won’t be able to move at the same speeds as other drivers, and your vehicle won’t perform as well on a paved surface as it would on an off-road surface. 

Put simply, stick to the trails. 

These Safety Tips Can Make a World of Difference

A UTV crash is always just around the corner. As such, utilizing these UTV safety tips can make a world of difference. Put them to good use and keep your body in one piece. 

If you’re looking for other UTV-related info, you can find it here on our website. We cover all sorts of UTV-related topics, from UTV performance to UTV safety to product guides and much more. 

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