WhEn you think of a farmer’s vehicles, the first ones that come to mind are tractors and all-terrain vehicles (ATV). These are the cornerstone of any farm, however, what an ATV offers compared to other vehicles is increased versatility in terms of towing and hauling capacity and the capability to handle multiple terrains with ease, from steep inclines to boggy fields. These benefits have led to ATVs becoming the workhorse vehicles that are relied upon on a day to day basis.
With that in mind, always remember that the farm is a potentially dangerous work environment, so it is important that when using an ATV, safe riding is at the forefront of the user’s mind when out in the field.
Here are some top tips when it comes to rider safety:
• Make sure that the loads carried on the racks are secure and evenly balanced and do not exceed the capacity of the ATV (check the manufacturers’ recommendations).
• Always be aware of your surroundings and keep your eyes peeled for any pedestrians, livestock, obstructions or other vehicles.
• Inspect the ATV before use to ensure that it is in good working order.
• Avoid sudden increases in speed as this is one of the common causes for an overturned vehicle. • Always wear the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) such as a helmet, boots, long sleeve shirt and trousers when out riding.
• When riding across a slope, keep your weight forward. When going downhill, slide your weight backwards, select a low gear and use engine braking, which leads to the reduction in the need to use the brakes.
• When working a new area, make sure you walk the route before riding through it. This will give you a better perspective of the dangers or obstacles that you could come across.
• Always read the owner’s manual.