An off-highway vehicle, as the name suggests, is specifically designed for off-roading use, often on steep and uneven roads and is specially used for these purposes-
- Off-roading experience
- Recreational purposes and Sightseeing
- Construction Services
- Farming and Agriculture
OHVs come in all sizes and shapes and include ATVs (quad bikes, dune buggies), motorcycles, snowmobiles, etc., and are becoming increasingly popular. The major design specifications of an OHV include-
- Large tyres with deep treads
- Flexible suspension
There Are 2 Major Categories Of OHVs
ATV: The American National Standard Institute defines ATVs as All-terrain vehicles and is characterized as vehicles built on low-pressure tyres and equipped with handlebars for steering control. It is illegal to drive them in specific areas in many states and provinces in Canada, United States and Australia. You are required to have permits and licenses to operate one.
UTV: Utility terrain vehicles or side-by-side vehicles are OHVs that are utility based. They are designed for other than recreational purposes and are often large and more powerful, with enough seating space for other passengers.
Are These OHVs Safe To Ride?
Before riding an OHV, you should know the laws of the state you are driving in. If you Google UTV/ATV accidents near me, you will find several news articles reporting major injuries or even fatalities from the accidents involving OHVs.
However, that doesn’t suggest that OHVs are dangerous. If you use them as intended, follow certain safety precautions and drive safely, OHVs are safe.
What Are The Risks Involved While Using An OHV?
Rollovers are a major concern and one of the leading causes of injury and are frequently caused by-
- You can easily get to high speeds without any control like ABS or protection.
- The vehicle’s high center of gravity and its comparatively short wheelbase.
- Riding with more than one passenger.
- Riding without proper training.
- Poorly maintained OHV.
- Not wearing protective gears like helmets.
What Does The Law Say?
The law typically differs state to state, so we’ll use Wisconsin as an example here. Wisconsin is famous for its beautiful landscapes. Many people go out in their ATVs to spend time outdoors.
However, drivers of these vehicles are often injured in severe accidents. Wisconsin law states that the driver should report an incident to the law enforcement official within 10 days of the accident.
According to the expert attorneys at Nicolet Law firm in Wisconsin, injured victims should not take this deadline lightly or else they might lose their rights to claim later. (For more information, visit NicoletLaw.com)
The Common Causes Of ATV/UTV Accidents
The common causes are the same as other accidents- distracted driving and speeding. However, it is important to learn the risks associated with them so that you can take precautions.
Over Speeding– These vehicles offer excellent acceleration, and it is easy for people to lose control of their speed and injure themselves severely.
Rollover accidents: If you are driving too fast and are distracted on uneven terrain, your vehicle is at risk of a rollover accident. Since there is no strong protection in OHVs, you may suffer severe injuries.
No Automatic Brake System: Side-by-side can easily give the riders the feel of a car. However, one thing to remember is that even though they are designed like mini cars, they do not come with any safety protection as a car- Anti-lock brakes or stability control.
No Safety- It is important to remember that ATVs/UTVs don’t offer the same protection as other vehicles. They might look fun to ride, but they are too risky without proper safety equipment.
Inexperienced Driving: Since these vehicles look easy to ride, people often start riding them without taking a learning course and proper knowledge of the terrain. They are unprepared and fail to control their vehicle upon facing an unknown obstacle on the terrain, resulting in an operator error.
Tips To Stay Safe While Riding An ATV/UTV
- New drivers should take a proper OHV learning course to help them understand the complexities of driving in tough terrains.
- Read the operator’s manual carefully to learn how to operate these vehicles properly.
- Invest in high-quality safety gear- helmets, long pants, long sleeves, thick suits, long boots, goggles, etc.
- Do not let children drive them.
It is important to follow proper safety procedures to stay safe and know the dangers. In case you have been injured in a crash involving these vehicles, contact an expert attorney to help build your case and recover the right compensation.