ATV riding can be a thrilling exploration of untamed terrain, but in the midst of adventure it’s important to follow certain rules. Responsible ATV driving requires us to be safe and courteous to the people around us and the environment we’re in. Especially in Florida where wildlife and preserves are in abundance. That’s why Gator Sports has compiled some of the most important practices to follow when trail riding.

Respect Your Environment

Where you drive matters just as much as how you drive. No matter how wicked an opportunity might look, stay on the designated trail. Avoid sensitive landscapes such as marshes and meadows. Keep an eye on your surroundings and make sure you remain vigilant for wildlife. Many parks have designated areas for ATV riders for many reasons. Your safety is one of them.

Part of it is also courtesy. Paving a new trail through untamed areas can damage existing grass, plants and animal habitats. You don’t want to be “that guy.” You also don’t want to be fined or charged with breaking any laws.

Avoid Public Roads

ATV’s may be called “All-Terrain Vehicles,” but they were made to navigate off-road terrain only. Paved roads increase the risk of overturning, not to mention collisions with other, larger vehicles like cars and trucks. While Florida law currently permits ATV’s to drive on roads, you should never do so unless it’s 100 percent necessary.

If you find yourself in a situation where you must drive on the rod, stay close to the right hand side and go no faster than twenty miles per hour to maintain tire traction. Drive defensively and always assume that other drivers cannot see you.

Always Wear Protective Equipment

Never hop on an ATV without wearing the proper ATV equipment. Your helmet should be DOT-approved and you should always wear sturdy boots with long sleeves and pants alongside your gloves, chest protector and goggles. This gear may be hot to wear under the Florida sun, but it can mean the difference between an injury and a fatality. Remember, it only takes one accident to change your life.

Make Sure You Are Properly Trained

Never embark on a trail without first receiving proper training and certification to drive an ATV. Drivers should always be 16 years of age or older. When learning to drive an ATV, do so under safe conditions, on normal terrain, away from other vehicles and with proper supervision.

Looking to get into an ATV for the first time? Visit the Gator Sports ATV showroom in Fort Myers. Our knowledgeable and experienced staff will be happy to help you get into a vehicle and get you started in your new hobby.