Between 1982 and 2017, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that 15,250 people have died in all-terrain vehicle, or ATV, accidents. That number includes 756 fatal accidents in California alone.

You may enjoy the freedom and fun of riding a recreational vehicle on California trails. But poor driving by another rider or faulty issues with your vehicle can lead to severe consequences. Here are a few tips for keeping safe when out on your ATV:

  • Wear protective gear – A helmet, goggles, gloves, boots and long-sleeve protective clothing can go a long way in preventing injuries. Make sure your gear is up-to-date and isn’t broken or defective.
  • Be aware of other riders – Use caution when you see other ATVs on the trail. Drive slowly up hills, assuming there is a rider coming the other way.
  • Don’t carry a passengerMost ATVs can’t carry more than one person. Having a passenger can exceed the weight limit of your vehicle. And your passenger may offset your balance, causing the ATV to roll.
  • Stay off paved roads – While “all-terrain” is in the name, an ATV shouldn’t be on paved roads. The vehicle is meant for rough, off-road trails and can be difficult to handle on a smooth road.

When you go ATV riding with your friends and family, you expect to have a fun, exhilarating time. But you share the trails with other drivers who may not respect safety precautions. These riders can put you and others in danger of serious injury or even death.

While you can’t control these dangerous riders, staying safe and cautious can help you avoid fatal crashes.