Everything You Need to Know to Prevent ATV Accidents in Austin
All-terrain-vehicles (ATVs) are a staple of America’s recreation-loving culture. People own ATVs for a host of reasons and enjoy using them at their cabins, lake homes, and farms. In fact, ATVs are so popular that hundreds of thousands are bought in America each year.
While many who own and use ATVs do so responsibly, these sporty vehicles can be quite dangerous—especially if not used correctly. In 2018, more than 80,000 ATV-caused injuries were treated in emergency rooms and more than 250 individuals lost their lives in car accidents involving ATVs.
What is even more tragic is that a large percentage of those injured and killed in ATV accidents are children. From data stretching back to the early 1980s, it has been reported that more than 3300 children have been killed in ATV accidents.
Why ATVs Can Be Dangerous
There are 2 primary reasons ATVs tend to be dangerous: driver behavior + a lack of safety features.
On one end, because ATVs are not cars, many drivers think they have free reign and don’t need to consider safety, trail rules, or follow the laws of the road when driving an ATV. Many ATV drivers simply take more risks when driving an ATV, as they see reckless driving as part of the activity and adventure. While adventurous driving is certainly part of the thrill, it can increase the odds of an accident and ultimately injury or death.
Some of the most common dangerous ATV driving behaviors:
- Driving an ATV while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Letting children drive the ATV
- Forgoing the training necessary to be able to drive an ATV safely
- Driving an ATV while distracted by a cell phone or other handheld device
On the other end, ATVs also lack most of the safety features that regular cars, trucks, and SUVs have. This makes it much more likely to sustain more serious injury than you might in a car accident with similar circumstances.
Safety features ATVs DO NOT have:
- Safety cages (in most cases)
- Roll bars
- Low center of gravity
Without these safety features, ATV riders have an increased chance of tipping/rolling the vehicle, being thrown from the vehicle, being exposed to the environment around them (branches, flying debris, etc.), and having harder impacts without an airbag to soften the blow. With this in mind, it’s very important to wear proper protective equipment when riding ATVs to reduce the risk of injury, or even death.
Common ATV Injuries
Because of the unique shape of ATVs and how they are driven, there are several types of injuries that are more common than others. These injuries include:
- Head injuries: Concussions and other brain injuries are especially common for riders who choose not to wear a helmet.
- Paralysis: Spinal cord injuries are very possible if a rider is thrown from the ATV and lands awkwardly on their head or neck, or if the ATV lands on top of the rider.
- Broken Bones: Being thrown off the ATV or having it roll over on top of you can result in broken bones. Collar bones, leg bones, and arm bones are all commonly broken in ATV accidents.
In addition to these injuries, cuts, scrapes, bruises, sprains, tears, and more are likely to happen any time there is an accident. While these might not be too severe, they can cause unnecessary pain and be debilitating in their own rights.
Ways to Prevent ATV Accidents and Injuries
There are many things ATV owners and drivers can do to prevent ATV accidents and injuries.
Some of these precautions include:
- Wearing a helmet anytime you drive an ATV
- Taking an ATV driving class
- Avoiding risky behavior while driving an ATV
- Never drinking alcohol while using an ATV
- Not letting children operate an ATV on their own
By adopting these ATV best practices, you can lower your risk of accident and injury. If you are letting others drive your ATV, make sure they promise to abide by your rules of use.
What to Do if You are Injured in an ATV Accident
If you or someone you know are injured in an ATV accident, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention immediately. Nothing matters more than your health and the health of your loved ones. After that, you might also want to contact an ATV accident attorney who can advise you on whether or not you can seek compensation for your injuries.
A good lawyer will examine your case, investigate it, and determine if your injuries were the result of another person’s negligence. If that is the case, you might be able to sue for damages or settle in an out of court agreement. You shouldn’t have to pay for your injuries on your own. A qualified ATV accident lawyer can help get you the compensation you deserve.