While we still have a few months of cold temperatures and winter weather here in the western Chicago suburbs, many of us are looking toward summer and enjoying time outdoors. If you are planning on getting your all-terrain vehicle, or ATV, out of the shed sooner than later, or if you are considering purchasing one this spring, it is wise to brush up on your safety practices now.

ATVs are responsible for deaths and injuries across Illinois each year. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission reports 36 ATV-related deaths in the years 2015-2017. Neighboring Wisconsin reported 48 deaths during the same two-year span. Here are a few ways you can keep yourself safe as ATV season begins.

Know Where to Ride

Part of practicing safe ATV riding begins with knowing where you can ride. Illinois law prohibits riding ATVs in any forest preserve or other public lands. Further, you cannot ride ATVs on private property unless you have express permission from the owner. Riders can operate their ATVs on their own private property or other property that has been designated for ATV use.

Stay Off the Roads

ATVs are not allowed on streets or highways in Illinois. Instead, you can only cross a road if it is at a 90-degree angle and if there are no barriers to the crossing. Instead, transport your ATV to the property you are going to ride on via another vehicle with a truck or trailer.

Gear Up

Keep your head and body safe by choosing to wear protective gear while operating the ATV. A helmet is a must and you should consider long-sleeved shirts, pants, gloves, and boots as well. You can also purchase and wear a chest or neck protector to further keep you safe during your rides.

Consider a Safety Course

If you are new to ATVs or if you want to brush up on your technique to stay as safe as possible, consider enrolling in an ATV safety course. These classes are fun and informative, giving you plenty of drive time experience with professionals to help you along the way.

Know Your Emergency Plan

Finally, be sure you are prepared with an emergency plan in case you are in an accident. Carry your cell phone and tell people where you will be riding, along with an estimated return time. Always know where the nearest hospital is to where you are riding, and know how to contact first responders if necessary. Be sure you follow up with medical professionals after an accident or if an injury gets worse.

If you have been injured in an ATV-related accident, call the team at O’Brien Law. We are ready to assist you during the insurance process and advocate for your best interests. Call us today to tell us more about your situation.