Common Causes of ATV Accidents

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Riding ATVs and other off-road vehicles can be dangerous. 

It is important to be aware of the risk and know how to safely operate an off-road vehicle so that you can enjoy your ride and avoid being involved in a crash. 

ATV accidents can cause serious injury and death, which makes it all the more important to always wear the proper ATV riding gear. 

This page will cover the important things to know about ATV accidents, the common causes, and how to avoid them. 

What is an ATV Accident?

ATV accidents describe collisions or crashing involving all-terrain vehicles that typically result in property damages, injuries, or death.

Injuries and damages caused in an ATV accident can be severe, with head injuries being the most common. 

How common are ATV accidents?

Statistics show that there are about 700 deaths and over 135,000 injuries caused by ATV accidents in the U.S. each year. 

Many of these accidents involve younger riders, inexperienced riders, and/or riders that demonstrate negligent or reckless behavior. 

Riding off-road is always a dangerous activity. That’s why it is important that riders and passengers take the necessary safety precautions, follow the rules, and wear all the safety gear every time they get on an off-road vehicle. 

Top Causes of ATV Accidents

The most common causes of ATV accidents can be traced back to a handful of circumstances and factors. 

The top causes include:

  • Riding an ATV on a paved road.
  • Riding with more passengers than the ATV is designed to carry. 
  • Inexperienced operators or reckless operators. 
  • Young riders without adult supervision. 
  • Riding over dangerous obstacles or terrain. 

Other causes of ATV accidents include stunt riding or risky maneuvers and operating an ATV under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 

One of the most common causes is riding an ATV on paved roads. Off-road vehicles like ATV handle extremely poorly on paved surfaces and greatly increase the risk of flipping over or losing control of the vehicle. 

Colliding with stationary objects like trees, buildings, or fences can also pose dangers to ATV riders. 

Flipping the vehicle or getting thrown from the vehicle is a top cause in head, neck, and spinal injuries. 

How to Avoid Crashing on an ATV

Avoiding ATV accidents comes down to riding within your limits, following the safety rules, and wearing the proper riding gear, which always includes a DOT-approved helmet. 

ATV crashes are much more common among inexperienced riders. That’s why it is important to take the time to practice and learn the basics of how to ride an ATV. 

Riding too fast, turning too sharply, and riding over terrain that you’re not ready for can increase your risk of a crash. 

If you’re riding with passengers, make sure that they have been briefed on ATV safety, are wearing the proper riding gear, and that you’re riding an ATV that is designed to safely carry another rider. 

When riding with children, be sure that:

  • The child is on the right size ATV. (Learn more about ATV sizes for different age ranges).
  • They are big enough to comfortably operate all the controls. 
  • They are mature enough to operate the quad safely and follow your instructions. 
  • They are supervised by an experienced adult at all times. 

No matter how safe and experienced you are, it’s also a good idea to carry an ATV insurance policy. Different coverages will make sense for different people, but it is often smart to get a policy that covers:

  • Bodily injury and property damage liability if you are at fault for an accident. 
  • Comprehensive and collision coverage to pay for damages to your ATV.
  • Medical payments or PIP coverage, if available and applicable to your situation.