7 ATV Safety Tips for First Timers

July 15th, 2022 by


ATVs or quad-bikes can be incredibly fun to drive through different environments. These specialty vehicles are designed to traverse through tricky terrain quickly while offering riders a thrilling experience. If you plan to operate an ATV for the first time, it is essential to familiarize yourself with ATV safety.


It’s not uncommon for newcomers to experience learning pains when they operate an ATV for the first time. The following tips will reduce the likelihood of injury or damage your ATV during your first ride.


1.      Wear the Right Gear

One of the best ways to stay safe while operating an ATV is by wearing the right gear. All ATV riders who should ensure they have the following gear::

  • Helmet
  • Gloves
  • Boots
  • Eye protection
  • Long-sleeved shirt
  • Long pants



A helmet helps protect your head if you collide with another object or if you fall off your ATV. Modern helmets can absorb the shock of a blunt impact and minimize forces on your skull. However, some types of ATV helmets are also designed to reduce the amount of external noise you hear. This is important as the loud noises from an ATV can cause ear fatigue for unprotected ears.


There are many different types of ATV helmets to choose from. This includes:


Half Helmets

Half helmets cover only the top half of your head. These are usually the most-affordable helmet type, but they also leave you more vulnerable than helmets that also cover the lower half of your head.


Full-Face Helmets

Full-face helmets cover your entire head and face. They provide protection for your chin and jaw in the event of an accident.


Open Face Helmets

Open face helmets are similar to half helmets. However, they also offer ear protection, which helps reduce some of the noise you hear from your ATV. Some open face helmets also feature visors to protect your face from dirt and wind.



Every ATV rider should ensure they wear a comfortable set of gloves before riding for the first time. ATV gloves don’t just protect your hands from dirt or tree branches, they also provide better grip while riding.


Gloves help you maintain better control of your ATV and reduce the chances of your hands slipping off the handlebars. This makes them an essential piece of safety equipment you should never leave behind.


Eye protection

As mentioned earlier, some types of ATV helmets have built-in visors, similar to motorcycle helmets. If you opt for a helmet design without a visor, you will need to wear additional eye protection.


ATV riders typically wear goggles to protect their eyes from wind and debris. These goggles are typically held in place using a strap and are designed to stay on your face once they are secured properly. This eye-protection is extremely important when you are driving quickly and need to devote your full attention to what’s in front of you. So be sure to get a pair of ATV goggles before your first ride.



Riding boots are essential for all ATV riders. These boots tend to be tall and thick. They provide protection for your ankles and shins. Such boots may seem overprotective, but they can be useful for riders traversing forested areas where they are likely to encounter tree branches and rocks. Such boots ensure your lower legs and feet stay safe so that you can enjoy a comfortable ride.


Long-Sleeved Shirt

ATV riders should also wear a breathable long-sleeved shirt for their rides. This shirt will help protect their body from dirt and tree branches. The long sleeves will also protect their skin from sun damage.


Long Pants

Long pants help protect an ATV rider’s thighs and legs from dirt and debris. Such pants are also water resistant, which can be helpful if you intend to ride in rainy weather.


2.      Choose the Right ATV

First-time riders should ensure they choose the right ATV. These specialty vehicles come in different sizes and horsepower ratings. If you are unfamiliar with operating an ATV, it is best to go with one with low horsepower as it will have slower acceleration.


If you have a small stature, you may also need to go with a smaller sized ATV. For example, Polaris’ Outlaw 110 EFI ATV model is smaller than a full-sized ATV, making it perfect for kids above ten or small adults.


When you sit in your ATV for the first time, you should ensure your hands can reach the handlebars easily while you are seated in an upright position. If you need to lean forward to reach these handlebars, the ATV is likely too large for you. In this case, you should opt for a smaller sized one.


3.      Ride on Designated Trails

One of the best ways to stay safe while riding an ATV is to ensure you drive through designated trails. There are numerous ATV trails in Canada that are perfect for this task. Such trails are well maintained and rarely contain unexpected obstructions that pose a danger to new riders.


More experienced riders may be able to drive ATVs through unexplored trails, but first-time riders should stick with familiar trails until they have more experience.


4.      Always Drive at Safe Speeds

Driving an ATV at fast speeds can be a thrilling experience. However, new riders should avoid going too fast on these vehicles. Most ATV trails have designated speed limits to reduce the likelihood of an accident occurring.


For example, the official speed limit in a densely forested trail may be 15 km/h. Similarly, the ATV speed limit in a more open area may be 40 km/h. In either case, new riders should remember to respect this speed limit as it has been chosen with their safety in mind.


5.      Don’t Ride Double

Most ATVs are designed to fit a single rider. Such ATVs may have long seats that might be able to accommodate an extra passenger. However, attempting to do so may put both the rider and their passenger in danger. This is because such ATVs aren’t designed to carry more than one person.


Overloading an ATV with two people may make it more unstable. This increases the chances of it flipping over on sharp turns or inclines. For this reason, you should avoid bringing a passenger with you if your ATV has been designed for only one person.


6.      Don’t Drive at Night

Some experienced ATV riders drive their vehicles at night with the help of headlights. However, this can be a bad choice for new riders who aren’t confident riding these specialty vehicles.


Driving at night poses many risks that aren’t present during the daytime. For example, ATV riders who aren’t familiar with a specific trail may get lost while driving at night. They are also more likely to collide with objects or get into an accident due to reduced visibility in the dark.


7.      Attend an ATV Safety Course

One of the best ways to be safer when riding an ATV is to attend a safety course. Such courses are designed to help new riders understand the basics of an ATV. This includes the correct ways to accelerate, brake, and maneuver through different environments.


An ATV safety course allows you to get up to speed with driving an ATV at a gradual and safe pace. This ensures you are confident about your riding skills by the time you decide to hit an actual ATV trail.


Where Can I Purchase or Rent an ATV?

ATVs can be incredibly fun to drive, but they can be equally dangerous. These vehicles weigh hundreds of pounds, so the last thing any rider needs is to find themselves under one in the event of an accident.


The ATV safety tips mentioned above should be useful for just about anyone who plans to drive an ATV for the first time. However, they can also be useful for experienced riders seeking to make their riding experience a bit safer.


If you’re looking to purchase your first ATV, you can’t go wrong by visiting Westshore Marine. We offer dozens of great ATVs of different types and sizes from leading manufacturers. We also offer ATV rentals for people who would like to try out an ATV before deciding if it is right for them.


Please contact us to learn more about our product selection or if you need assistance with choosing a suitable ATV. Our experts are always eager to help new customers and will be glad to match you with the right ATV for your needs.