ATV instructors give tips for safe riding

By KBJR News 1

September 25, 2013 Updated Sep 25, 2013 at 9:21 AM CDT

Proctor, MN (NNCNOW.com) - ATV riding is a popular Northland pastime, but it can also be dangerous.

There have been three ATV–related accidents in the Northland recently, one Monday with minor injuries and two last week which were fatal.

ATV safety instructors say that the major cause of accidents are speed and alcohol.

"The faster you go, the less you can see around you," said Wayne Laakso with the North Shore ATV Club, "Adults that have been involved in an accident, whether fatal or not, is probably about 75–percent alcohol related."

Laakso says ATVs are especially dangerous when driven on roads because they don't have the proper safety equipment, like turn signals or rearview mirrors. What's more, the loud sound they make can drown out other noises.

"They make enough noise, especially with a helmet, that you're unaware of what's around you," said Laakso.

The club's ATV Safety Instructor, Sherri Brown, says the size of the vehicle is important too.

"Know that they can fit the machine, that it's their size; it's no too large for them, not too small," said Brown.

As we near snowmobile season, it should be noted that the same types of precautions taken when riding ATVs should be taken when riding snowmobiles. Don't use excess speeds and stick to designated trails.