It’s an undisputed fact that ATV helmets can protect your head from serious injuries. However, laws governing ATV use are different in each province and territory. But even if a helmet is not required by law, it is always a smart safety precaution.
So what should you be looking for when purchasing your helmet? Most of the rules for motorcycle helmets also apply to ATVs. Look for:
- Clear information indicating that you’re buying a quality product, such as the manufacturer’s name, the model number and the helmet size.
- Construction materials such as polystyrene or styrofoam that protect your head from injury. Generally speaking, the protective layer should be about 2.54 centimetres. Avoid helmets with decorative elements such as spikes which could cause injury.
- Whole face protection. Your helmet should protect you from wind, dust, rain, insects and debris. If you buy a helmet without a shield, be sure to wear goggles to protect your eyes. Check with your local provincial authority to ensure that your helmet meets minimum standards.
Helmets which have plastic face shields are your best choice because they protect your entire face. However, you may choose to wear goggles or glasses with UV protection. When you buy your eye protection, look for:
- UV protection to prevent temporary blindness and long-term damage to your eyes.
- Eye protection that allows you a clear view on both sides.
- Shatter-proof glass or plastic to avoid damage to your eyes.
The right choice of ATV jacket can protect you against the elements and flying debris. It’s also an excellent safeguard during an accident. Your choice of jacket will depend on the weather conditions in which you use your ATV as well as on your budget:
Here’s some sound advice:
- Leather is the top choice of ATV riders because it provides superior protection against abrasions particularly in an accident. Leather ATV jackets often have foam padding that provides extra protection.
- You can also opt for lighter materials such as textiles and mesh, which allow for air circulation.
- Go for safety over style.
- Make sure your jacket is fitted properly so that you can easily manipulate your ATV without feeling restricted.
Pants can protect your skin from debris and abrasions in case you fall from your vehicle. Keep this in mind:
- Leather is once again a good choice because it provides good protection against abrasions during an accident. However, for light recreational use, lighter materials such as nylon will do the job.
- Always avoid wearing shorts, which leave your skin vulnerable to abrasion.
- Be sure your pants are fitted to allow ease of movement.
Gloves keep your hands from getting sore and cold and protect you in accidents. Here’s what to look for:
- Leather is once again your best choice for good protection.
- If you’re using your ATV in cold weather, go for warmer, insulated gloves.
- Some gloves have padded knuckles to help prevent bruising.
- Be careful to choose the right size for your hands; if the gloves are too large, you can lose control of your wheel.
In addition to offering extra protection, boots prevent your feet from slipping off footrests. Even if it’s summer, avoid wearing footwear such as flip-flops or sandals, which can easily slip. Unlike motorcycle boots, ATV boots are generally lighter and often made of thick fabric and plastic plates to protect you against impact and debris.
Here are some pointers when buying ATV boots:
- Safety should trump fashion here.
- Go for low heels which have a strong grip.
- Boots above the ankle will also protect your lower legs.