Hey ORV Drivers – Better Read Part 1 of Safety Tips!

A great thing about off-roading is that it can be enjoyed in many ways, whether you take to the trails in your 4X4, sport utility vehicle or SUV, an off-road vehicle or ORV, an all-terrain or ATV, or a utility task vehicle or UTV.

ORV's like the Polaris RZR XP 1000 ;are becoming increasingly popular these days and with good reason.

Designed to be a sort of combination between an ATV and a full-sized 4WD car or truck, the Polaris is a lot more capable than your average street-legal 4X4 truck or SUV that’s taken off-road on the weekends, so they’re a lot more fun!

Before you hop onto or into any ORV, it’s critical that you know how to stay out of danger while on the trail.

So keep on reading this first of a two-part feature on ORV safety and how to enjoy this unique vehicle the right way!

1. Take a Rider Course for ORVs

Whether you want to head out on the trail on 3-wheeler ATV, a 4-wheeler, or a SxS or side-by-side, it is best to take a rider course for your specific type if you’re new to them.

Though it’s easy to think that an ATV is just like a motorcycle and a SxS is just like a car, each of these vehicles handles differently and has different capabilities and limitations.

Learn from experienced instructors how to to get the most from your ORV without putting yourself in danger by not knowing about the many ways these vehicles differ from what you’re ridden before and how to safely put one through its paces.

2. Choose the Right Size Vehicle

ORVs come in a variety of sizes, from junior models for kids to full-size models for large or multiple adults.

Size is a critical detail that you must consider before riding because riding a vehicle that’s too large for you could be extremely dangerous as it increases the possibility of losing control when driving.

Always choose a single-rider ORV that matches your size and keep in mind that since SxS vehicles are full-sized, they are meant to be driven only by adults.

3. Wear the Right Protective Gear

Because ATVs and ORVs are open vehicles that put riders in greater danger than when riding in regular trucks or 4X4 vehicles, safety gear is required.

In most places, riders of both vehicle types are required to wear helmets, preferably full-face versions with face shields or goggles.

Though not be required as helmets, it’s strongly suggested that riders also wear ankle-high boots, off-road riding gloves, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts like riding pants and jackets.

SxS riders must also wear their seat belts to keep them from being bounced out of the vehicle.

4. Learn the Controls

Each type of vehicle has its own type of controls, so it’s essential to learn them well enough to feel comfortable when driving and become familiar with its unique controls that function differently than a standard street vehicle.

Practice with your SxS in safer environments to develop a more natural feel for the controls before you hit the trails where you’ll be making quick decisions and relying on your reflexes.

5. Know the Rules Where You Ride

Before you take yours out, understand that there are certain places and trails where you can take an ATV or SxS and others where they are not permitted.

Review the laws and regulations for ORVs in your area and abide by them:

  • Stick to designated trails.
  • Follow all speed rules.
  • Practice all other forms of off-road respect by sharing the trail safely and avoiding activities that will damage it.

ORV Safety Starts With Knowledge and Practice

Staying safe on the trail depends largely on common sense no matter what type of vehicle you’re driving.

Because ORVs like the Polaris RZR XP 1000 and ATVs are very different from off-road trucks and SUVs, it also involves having a good understanding of said vehicle, how it differs from standard vehicles, and how to safely operate it.

Learn more about ORV safety and what to do once you’re ready to roll in Part 2 of this series of helpful ORV driving safety tips!

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Read: Part 2: Hey ORV Drivers - Don't Miss Part 2 of These Safety Tips!