ATV rider wearing safe ATV riding gear.

The ATV Safety Gear You Should Be Wearing

Updated April 1, 2016 . AmFam Team

Discover the right ATV protective gear to wear on any ATV adventure. These key safety tips from American Family Insurance can help you go beyond the most basic protection.

There's nothing like the freedom of the open trail on an ATV. But before you take off on your off-road adventure, always make sure you're protected from head to toe with the right equipment. ATV riders should always wear a helmet, good gloves, long pants and eye protection. Learn all about how to dress for an ATV ride with our helpful tips on staying safe on the trail.


Protective Gear for Your ATV

From over-the ankle boots to a thick jacket, protective gear is key to ATV safety. Even on hot, sunny summer days, it can make all the difference. Consider it like your ATV’s safety belt. Without it, you’re at greater risk of injury. So, make it a practice to get the right gear on each time you fire up your ride.

Use a Safety Checklist for All ATV Riders

Put together a safety checklist to follow when preparing for a ride. This process will help everyone understand that ATV riding is serious business. And best of all, you’ll be building great safety habits for young riders which can last a lifetime.

Develop Safe Riding Habits With Protective Gear

As you’re placing each piece of protective gear on, review the reasons why this gear is important with youngsters. Discuss scenarios where specific gear can prevent or decrease injury. Also review how the operation of the ATV can be impacted with these specialized pieces of equipment. Have riders practice simple tasks like mounting, dismounting and accelerating turning or breaking after suiting up. This will help to make sure they’re comfortable operating the ATV with their new protective clothing.

Review Correct Riding Posture With Protective Gear

Wearing a good helmet can be a bit disorienting at first. After each rider is fully suited up, work with them on the ergonomics of safe riding. Younger riders may find that it’s hard to maintain good posture but stay positive and let them know that these safe habits will help them. Spend time with them to get oriented and positioned optimally on their ATV. Good posture lends itself to better situational awareness and decreased reaction times.

  • Keep your head up.
  • Look straight ahead.
  • Bend your elbows out and slightly away from your body.
  • Keep your shoulders down and relaxed.
  • Your knees should be in and tight to the frame.
  • Toes should be pointing ahead, planted firmly on the middle of the footrest.

Get the Right Protective Gear for Your ATV

When you’re out riding in cooler weather, remember to dress in layers to help keep the wind chill at bay. And when you’re out shopping for protective gear, be sure that your cold weather plan will fit comfortably underneath. Jackets that adjust to allow more room for layering and helmets that accommodate a hat are key for all-season riding. Here are a few other important notes on what to pick up to stay safe on your ATV.

DoT-approved helmets are a must

A helmet is one of the best tools you can use to protect yourself on an ATV. Full-face helmets offer the most protection and comfort.

Have a plan for eye protection

If you’re not wearing a full-face helmet, be sure to use goggles or adequate eye protection to keep wind, dirt and debris out of your eyes. Look for high impact eyewear, with a V-8, VESC-8 or Z87.1 rating.

Source gloves designed for ATV riding

Gloves with padded knuckles will protect your hands from injury, keep them warm in cold weather and help reduce fatigue. By choosing those that are built specifically for ATVs, you’re more likely to find heat pad insert pockets and specialized protection for off-road riding.

Minimize direct skin exposure

When skin’s exposed, it’s at a higher risk of injury. Even on humid August afternoons, demand that all ATV riders wear full length clothing to minimize risks. Long sleeves and long pants are smart ways to avoid burns, scratches and other injuries.

Level-up your gear with pads and plates

For added protection, source safety gear and clothing with knee and shoulder pads. Chest and back plates, neck-protecting helmets and ATV-designed shin guards can really help to protect the whole body.

Invest in the right boots

Over-the-ankle boots will keep your feet more firmly planted on the footrests. The higher the boots go, the more protection they offer. If you do plan on riding into the cooler months, it may be wise to pick up a cold weather pair and a warmer weather set of boots. That way, you’re more likely to be comfortable and that can translate to one less distraction on the trail.

Find the Right Coverage for Your ATV

Now that you’ve got the details on how to ride safe, be sure you’re suiting up your investment with the right protection. Reach out to your American Family Insurance agent (Opens in a new tab) and learn about the ways they can customize a policy to match your well-tuned ATV. With great coverage in tow, you’ll find real peace of mind on the trail knowing that you’ve got great protection at every turn.

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