Analyze this short video. What did this rider do that placed him at greater risk of an ATV accident?

Use great caution any time you ride in an unfamiliar area. The rider in the video failed to do this.

Always ask yourself the following questions before you enter an unknown situation.

  1. Have you carefully looked at the obstacle in front of you?
  2. Did you get off your ATV and really reflect on what’s in front of you?
  3. Have you successfully ridden over / through similar obstacles before?
  4. Are you confident you have the skills and have received adequate ATV safety training necessary to accomplish the task in front of you?
  5. Do you understand why it’s important to carefully consider the situation before you enter instead of proceeding without caution, plowing into what’s in front of you without thinking or looking?
  6. Is peer pressure pushing you to do something you don’t feel comfortable with or would not do if other people weren’t making you feel hurried?
  7. If you’re riding a borrowed vehicle from a friend, are you sure it’s in good working order? Do you really know how to determine if the vehicle is in good working order?
  8. Were the vehicle’s tire pressures checked before it was placed into service that day? Were the tire pressures checked during the day?
  9. Does the steering feel sloppy or loose? Is there hesitation in the steering when you need to move the handlebars?
  10. Does the vehicle go where you point it or does it wander around a bit?
  11. Does one of the shocks sag more than the rest of them when the wheel hits a bump or falls into a small indent?

How will all of the above affect your safety and your ability to operate the vehicle correctly under diverse situations? Click here to learn more about conducting a pre-ride inspection. ATV safety training and a thorough pre-ride inspection are two basic components of ensuring your safety.

An ATV is what is called “rider active”. This means riders must be willing to move their bodies around on top of the vehicle to offset forces created by operating the ATV. Please note: You just can’t sit on the machine and push the throttle and assume the ATV will go forward safely.

It’s essential that you truly understand what makes an ATV so unique because it operates very differently than other vehicles.

In the short video, the first thing the operator failed to do was stop, get off his vehicle and look at what was beneath dried brush on the hillside. He should have viewed the texture and shape of the hillside. He needed to know if rocks, a ravine, etc., existed.

As evidenced, when he applied too much front brake and the down hill front wheel dipped down while the uphill back tire came up off the ground, this could have created the beginning of a down hill rollover. Although in this case, this turned out not to be true, if conditions had been just a little different, the rider’s actions could have caused him to roll the ATV to the left down the hillside.

Now, think about possibilities this operator would face in a different situation in which the hill was steeper and longer, with rocks, holes, water ruts, plus a steeper side slope. Because the ATV operator didn’t understand the mechanics of ATV riding, he would now have placed himself in grave potential danger.

His unjustified over-confidence regarding how to operate his ATV would eventually have led him into more challenging situations. Sooner or later (most likely sooner,) he would have discovered himself in way over his head. The result could have become another addition to the thousands of similar ATV accidents that occur every year by inexperienced, over-confident operators who have not been properly trained by a qualified ATV safety trainer.


Discover tips and view other videos produced by Court-qualified Expert Witness Bill Uhl as he trains operators of ATVs, UTVs, motorcycle dirt bikes and snowmobiles. Discover a wealth of thought-provoking information on the above OHV website.

Get your training / expert witness needs met here!


Senior Instructor & Expert Witness – Bill Uhl

Mr. Uhl has successfully served as an Expert Witness and consultant for attorneys since 2004. In over 28 years of U.S. and International off-road professional competition, Bill Uhl has won truckloads of trophies in all types of long distance racing in some of the most rugged terrain around the world, including five gold medals for the U.S. during the International Six-Days Trials/Enduro (the Olympics of motorcycle racing).

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What’s New

Senior Instructor,
Bill Uhl named to the International Motorcycle Hall of Fame Click here

Bill Uhl is designated as a "Preferred Off-Road Eductional Trainer" Click here.

ATV and UTV Riding Skill Development and Safety