Before Heading Out
We’ve already told you to always wear it – and we’re telling you again. It’s THAT important. A helmet CAN and WILL save your life. When choosing your helmet, make sure you buy one that’s meant for your type of machine and that’s been approved by your state and by the Department of Transportation (DOT). Just look for the DOT sticker on the helmet. A full-face helmet is your best bet, as it will protect your face in an accident or from flying debris and if the weather is cold, it will keep you warm. In some states, if you’re going to wear an open-face helmet, you are required to also wear protective eyewear.
RIDER SAFETY TIP: HELMET COURTESY
Stopping to talk to a landowner or other group of riders and wearing a full-face helmet? Take it off so they can see your face – this action is a common courtesy that’s very simple and appreciated.
Wear a sturdy boot with a low heel. The boot should at least rise above your ankle to protect it but full boots are always going to provide the best protection. The low heel is important – it will keep your feet from slipping off the footrests when you’re braced against them while shifting gears, hitting potholes or while braking. On that note, never wear flat, slippery skateboard shoes or any type of open shoe while riding – ever.
Get yourself a good set of gloves with knuckle padding to protect your hands from flying debris, getting blistered on the handle grips and to protect them from the cold. Remember, on most machines your hands control the gas and the brake You NEED them and they won’t be any good to you if your fingers go numb.
No one is looking out for you out there but YOU. Always protect your eyes from hazards like strong winds, flying rocks, insects, slashing tree branches and the spray of mud or dust. Sunglasses aren’t enough. You should always wear appropriate, shatter-resistant goggles or a face shield. Make sure the goggles or glasses you’re wearing ventilate properly and won’t fog up in damp or cool weather.
RIDER SAFETY TIP: LENSES & LIGHT
Got a gorgeous, bright, bluebird of a day for riding? Go for grey-tinted lenses. If it’s an overcast sky, go for yellow-tinted lenses to brighten things up and provide better visibility. Night riding? Yes, you still need eye protection – wear clear lenses.
At minimum, always wear long sleeved-shirts and full pants when riding your machine to protect your limbs from being scratched by tree branches and shrubs and to protect you from losing your skin if you get tossed from your machine. Avoid cotton fabrics, which will stay wet if you get sweaty, rained on or splashed. Always opt for breathable, moisture-wicking materials. Proper OHV gear provides the ideal level of rider protection and comes equipped with cool features like knee pads, elbow pads and chest and shoulder protectors. And yes, you should wear a chest protector to shield your major organs, like your heart and lungs, in the event of a bad crash.