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How do you safely ride with a passenger?

It’s only natural to want to share the off-road experience with friends and family—bringing everyone along often leads to an even better time. Before you and your crew get too excited and blaze a trail, however, take some time to share a bit of your off-road knowledge in order to keep everyone safe.

Key things to remember

  • Make sure everyone wears the right protective equipment: approved helmet, eyes protection, gloves, long pants, long sleeved shirt or jacket and boots covering the ankles
  • Check everyone’s belts (if riding a SSV) and helmets are properly fitted before leaving.
  • Remind passengers to hold grab handles at all times and never put their limbs outside of the vehicle.
  • Passengers add weight; take care to feel how handling is affected and drive within the vehicle’s limits.
  • Never carry passengers in cargo area or on a tailgate (if riding a SSV).
  • Do not carry more passengers than the vehicle is designed for.
  • Keep personal items secure and stowed.

 

Seating tips

ATVs: Your passenger should be capable of sitting upright while firmly placing his or her feet on the footboards, and properly reach the passenger handholds to stay correctly positioned for proactive riding.

Side-by-Side vehicles: Passengers must be tall enough to always be properly seated with their back against the backrest with seat belt fastened, holding the handhold, and feet firmly planted.

 

Extras

  • Learn and practice simple hand signals. Hand outstretched with palm down can signal to the driver to “Slow down!”; a simple thumbs-up or thumbs-down can quickly communicate how everyone is feeling.
  • Ride at your passengers’ pace. Seasoned veteran or not, riding off-road can take its toll, so stay alert as the day goes on and be sure your passengers are happy, alert, and well-hydrated.

 

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