Riding an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) is a great activity during the summer. Being outside in the elements and enjoying a thrilling ride are just two of the many benefits ATVs offer. However, safety is crucial, because these machines are definitely not toys and not to be fooled around with.

ATV accidents can be devastating, which is why all riders are encouraged to follow the proper safety procedures. Doing so does not guarantee that you will always avoid an accident, but it can greatly mitigate your risk and lower the chance of serious injury. Here are a few tips to keep in mind the next time you take your ATV out for a spin.

Do not ride inebriated

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol greatly impairs your ability when operating an ATV. And because these vehicles lack the protection of passenger vehicles, you will be at an even greater risk of a severe injury if you ride under the influence. If you know you will be riding, abstain from drinking until after your ride is complete. Also, encourage any riders in your family to do the same, especially younger riders just starting out.

Drive at a safe speed

If you are riding on familiar trails, you may be tempted to increase your speeds. Keep in mind that doing so also increases your risk of an accident should you encounter an unexpected hazard in the road. Maintain a safe, reasonable speed at all times, and make sure you adjust your speed when the weather is poor or the ground is wet.

Take a safety training course

All new riders are encouraged to take a safety course to ensure they are using the right practices. ATV safety courses can teach you about the right gear to wear, how to operate these vehicles, local regulations, among many other important topics. The more information you have, the more responsible you will be while riding.