AMES, Iowa – Records available from 2014 estimate 93,700 all-terrain vehicle-related, emergency department-treated injuries in the United States. Most injury events involve the ATV or Utility Task Vehicle (UTV) rolling and pinning or crushing the victim. Sadly most victims were not found until hours had passed and they were often pronounced dead at the scene.
Popularity continues to grow among farmers who are now using ATVs and UTVs more and more for daily work chores. In addition, these vehicles are often equipped with liquid tanks or other attachments. These additions create a stricter set of safety recommendation than those for ATVs and UTVs without extra equipment.
The common addition is a liquid tank. Adding a liquid tank to an ATV or UTV changes the center of gravity, making the vehicle more top-heavy and easier to roll over. The “live” liquid load sloshing in the tank also creates additional potential for overturns and injuries. Some standard precautions necessary for ATVs or UTVs with tanks are:
- Stay under the manufacturer’s specification for weight limits and rack capacity and use a tank with internal baffles to reduce quick liquid movement.
- Use extra caution when making turns – reduce speed more because of the possibility of liquid sloshing around in the tank.
- Know how much weight can be transferred to one side of a vehicle and be prepared for rapid shifting of weight within the tank.
- Pre-scout area for irregularities such as holes, stumps and rocks.
- Tell someone where you will be operating your ATV or UTV and how long you will be gone.