Using Courtesy While Driving An ATV Is very Important
ATVs have been immensely popular since they were first introduced. and from the very beginning, those who ride ATVs have had to deal with many concerns regarding their behavior. Many of these are concerned with safety on the trail, while others are about respecting private property. Too many drivers simply drive wherever they please, with complete disregard for the laws prohibiting ATV use in many areas. As with any other motorized vehicle, there are many laws and rules governing ATV use.
The first rule, and some would argue the most important, is to always be on the lookout for others on the same trail. It is the responsibility of every single person on a trail to be aware of their surroundings at all times, and to be on the lookout for both other ATVs and people on foot on the trails. Being aware that someone is there is the critical first step in avoiding an accident.
Since most other vehicle traffic in the US drives on the right hand side of the road, that
convention has transferred over onto the trails. You should always drive on the right hand side, since that is where others will be expecting you to be. If you wish to pass someone, be sure they are aware of you and that you wish to pass. Be sure and wait for an OK before you pass.
Horses always have the right-of way. If you see a horse and rider crossing in front of you, stop and give them the trail. After they have finished crossing, you may continue on. If you are approaching a horse and rider on the trail you are using, be sure first that the rider is aware of you. Signal that you are going to pass, and wait for the OK. Be sure and give the horse as much room as you possibly can. The loud noise and strong smells of an ATV can easily spook a horse, which is dangerous for everyone involved. If the horse starts acting nervous or agitated, shut down your engine and talk to the rider about what to do. Usually, you will simply need to let the horse and rider get some distance between you before you continue on.
It is unfortunate that the majority of safe, responsible, and courteous riders have had their reputation tarnished by a handful of reckless yahoos. It is a fact of life that people are far more likely to remember the obnoxious ATV rider that churned up their field than all the ones that are respectful and stay off their property. The image of the drunken redneck raising hell in the middle of the night on an ATV is unfortunately an all-too common occurrence, especially when drinking or drugs get in the mix. Never drive an ATV while under the influence of alcohol or drugs! Most fatal accidents happen that way.
Even if you are riding on an ATV designated trail, odds are at some point you will encounter someone who isn’t using the trail for ATV riding. Be aware of your surroundings, and show any people you meet on the trails the same courtesy you would like to receive. Follow these simple guidelines, and you will have a safe and enjoyable riding experience. Be safe, and have fun!