For decades, Americans have focused on how to avoid motor vehicle collisions. In recent years, special emphasis has been placed on preventing accidents involving specific vehicles such as motorcycles and trucks. But one area which has often been overlooked is the incidence of ATV accidents.
An all-terrain vehicle (ATV) is characterized by having three or four wheels which usually have treads and the ability to traverse variable topography. Many of these vehicles can travel up to 60 miles per hour, but they are usually ridden in areas where roads are unpaved.
Common ATV Accidents
You might think that ATV accidents are relatively rare because riders mostly stay away from larger vehicles on traditional roads. On the contrary, dozens of deaths caused by ATV accidents are reported annually in West Virginia. Furthermore, thousands of people receive injuries each year which require medical treatment.
Almost any type of injury can be sustained during ATV accidents. But some of the most common include:
- serious abrasions;
- bone factures;
- abdominal injuries;
- spinal cord trauma; and
- traumatic brain injuries.
Causes of ATV Accidents
Even if safety precautions are taken, many organizations (including the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons) believe that ATVs are hazardous to the health of their users. They point to the fact that these vehicles not only have no rear wheel differential, but also often lack the appropriate suspension needed to negotiate many types of terrain. ATVs also have a high center of gravity and greater instability at faster speeds, which means they are more likely to roll or tip over than other vehicles.
The majority of ATV accidents occur as the result of driver misuse. This can manifest itself in many different forms, including:
- excessive speeds;
- driving in inappropriate areas (including paved roads);
- driving at night without proper illuminative equipment;
- not wearing protective clothing and/or a helmet; and/or
- driving while intoxicated.
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