27 Oct 4 Tips for Safe Riding in Cooler Weather
Cold winds, slippery ice, thick mud, and chilling rain are all part of the experience when taking your ATV or UTV out for a riding session during the cooler months. When the seasons change and the temperatures drop, take safety precautions and prep your vehicle to adapt to the off-road riding conditions. ATV Trader is teaming up with Tread Lightly! and providing four tips for safe riding in cooler weather.
1. Prep Your ATV/UTV
Do a pre-ride inspection of your ATV or UTV and ensure your engine and battery are free of debris or rust, and that your brakes and lights are working and responsive to your controls. You should also test your brakes to see if they might need a replacement, and evaluate the condition of your tires, paying special attention to the tread to make sure it’s not worn down or cracked. Following your owner’s manual, make sure to maintain the correct tire pressure. For the coldest days of the year, keep up with these practices when winterizing your ATV, whether it’s in storage or put to use throughout the season. When you ride, let your vehicle warm up for a few minutes and take things slow before you hit the gas and accelerate to a high speed.
2. Plan Around the Weather
Plan your ATV/UTV outing around the weather and keep an eye on the forecast in case things change quickly and take a turn for the worse. Avoid riding in the rain, sleet, hail, snowfall, fog, mist, or strong winds if you can, or shorten your ride time to minimize exposure to the elements and prevent fatigue. Set out earlier in the day to give yourself more daylight for riding before it’s dark out.
When your vehicle is ready, dress for the weather so you’re safe and comfortable when you ride. Layer up with the right gear, including:
- Riding jacket or vest
- Face coverings that fit underneath your helmet
- Insulated, waterproof, and reflective clothing
- Protective eyewear
- Thick gloves
- Waterproof socks
If you live further north, riding in snow packed conditions is common and can be fun. Just make sure to follow tips for safe winter riding and check that you have the right vehicle or attachments to get you through the terrain. Look out for ice, which can be extremely dangerous for off-road vehicles, as you can lose traction and control of your quad. If you encounter frozen paths or bridges, be sure to slow down to a safe speed. Don’t ride over frozen waterways, like rivers or lakes.
3. Pack Safety Supplies
Make the most of the space in your ATV or UTV and pack essential safety supplies. This includes a first aid kit, basic maintenance tools for on-the-go repairs, extra riding clothes, food and fluids to stay nourished and hydrated, a flashlight for reduced visibility, vehicle winch, and camping gear if you’re out for a longer adventure. These items are incredibly useful in case you’re stranded, lost, or need to help out another rider.
4. Ride Together
Stay safe and ride with an experienced off-roader in case of an emergency or if you need some backup. Whether you suffer an injury, experience a standstill because of a flat tire, get stuck in a ditch, or otherwise damage your four-wheeler, they’ll be there to help. The larger the group the better, and in case you lose cellular reception and you’re out far on a trail or off-road, let others know your riding route and time frame so they know where to look for you in case something happens and you lose communication.
Make these adjustments to keep rolling and stay safe when colder weather comes around. Use your best judgment and practice extra caution when you hit the trails or go off road with your ATV or UTV.
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