Most of Mississippi is a rural area, and many people here prefer to live an off road life. To many people having an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) is part of life. Hunters use ATVs in deer hunting a popular sport in Mississippi. Many of us also enjoy mud riding, because there’s nothing quite like being covered from head to toe in dirt on a four wheeler.
But as is often the case when you become too comfortable with something, it’s easy to get complacent. Complacency leads to carelessness, and carelessness leads to danger. Our love for the off road has made us too comfortable around ATVs which may be why we take ATV safety for granted. According to the Mississippi State Department of health, Mississippians are 3.5 times more likely to die from an ATV accident than the general public.
More than 200 Mississippians died from ATV injuries between 1998 and 2008, and injuries are rising fastest in children under 16. ATVs present unique dangers because they can reach high speeds off the road where unpredictable conditions can cause collisions and rollovers. Mississippi has no safety legislation for ATVs, and many riders are either too young for their vehicle or do not wear helmets.
As with any form of equipment it’s important to respect the machine you are using. ATVs can be a lot of fun to ride, but they can flip, topple over, and crash causing severe injuries and even death. ATV riders, especially younger ones, should take strong safety precautions.
Equipment: Head injuries are the deadliest consequence of ATV accidents. Helmets can reduce the severity of head injuries, and save a life. Arms, legs and eyes are also exposed to injury from rocks, trees and other debris. You can help protect them by wearing gloves, long shirts and pants, and over-the-ankle boots.
Size and weight: ATVs for adults and children are not the same. If you’re under 16, your chance of injury doubles if you are riding an ATV made for an adult. Follow manufacturer’s recommendations for weight and size of the rider, and don’t carry passengers unless your ATV is specifically designed to do so.
Roads: Paved roads may seem like a safer choice for ATV riding, particularly for new learners. But ATVs are not designed to make quick turns on pavement, and are likely to roll over. Keep off the road, and stay at a safe speed.
Instruction: Studies show that formal, hands-on ATV training lowers the risk of injury for adults and children. If you can find a formal ATV safety class it’s well worth the cost. But if cost is a problem, you can also find online ATV safety classes for free.
Remember if you or your child is involved in an ATV accident, you need immediate medical help. Don’t assume an injury isn’t serious. Just because someone gets up and walks away from an accident doesn’t mean they have avoided a life-threatening injury. Even if they are walking and talking, they could still have a closed-head injury with intracranial hemorrhage. If there is an accident, call 911 or go to the hospital immediately to be examined by a medical professional!
Information originally published here: