We live in a popular area for the use of All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs). ATVs, in the world of trauma, fall in the category of ‘Other Vehicular’. They are not autos, they are not motorcycles or dirt bikes. They include three-wheel vehicles (three wheelers) and four-wheeled vehicles (such as Gators, etc).
This mode of transportation is popular in our area due to the amount of rural landscape we have, along with a large number of parks, trails and wooded areas. They also are a major tool in the everyday life of a farmer, as they travel from field to field. With the usage so high, the prevalence of injuries is also high.
Stay safe on ATVs by following these few simple rules:
1. Appropriate attire is imperative. Always wear a DOT-compliant helmet. These helmets meet the national standards for safety and protection. Riders should also wear goggles to protect the eyes from limbs and any debris that is kicked up. Long sleeved shirts and long pants are a must to protect the arms and legs. Footwear should be high tops boots. Gloves should also be worn.
2. Be sure the ATV is the appropriate size for the rider. The larger the vehicle, the more power it generally has, and small children should not be attempting to drive them.
3. ATVs are not legal to have on the road, and should not be mixed with general traffic. Care should be taken anytime it is necessary to cross a roadway since ATVs often times blend into the ditch banks and fields, making them hard to visualize.
4. It goes without saying, but obviously ATVs should not be operated while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
5. Care should be taken when traversing different types of terrains. While four-wheeled vehicles are more stable than three-wheeled vehicles, any of them can flip over while traveling up steep inclines and over uneven ground.
Check out the ATV Safety Institute website for other recommendations and courses that can be taken to decrease the number of injuries seen from all terrain vehicles.
With one turn of her four-wheeler, Tenesha Ulrich’s life changed. Now, after a spinal cord injury, she’s choosing to live her life fully.