Common Causes of ATV & Snowmobile Accidents and How to Avoid Them

Have you been enjoying this summer’s warm weather and taking advantage of the many recreational trails across Alberta? ATV riding is one of the best ways to get off the beaten path and explore, but without proper care and caution, off-road vehicles can pose a significant risk of personal injury. At James H. Brown and Associates, we’re just as passionate about advocating for injury prevention as we are about representing Albertans hurt in an accident or collision. Below, we’ll cover some of the common causes of ATV accidents, as well as shared risks for snowmobilers as we head into the winter season. Read on to learn more.

Know the Risks Before You Ride

There’s nothing Albertans love more than exploring our beautiful province, and quadding and snowmobiling both offer a unique away to see the wild. While there’s nothing better than zooming through nature with your friends and family, it’s important to be aware of the risks associated with operating heavy vehicles of any kind, especially on rough and/or uneven terrain. From 2016-2020, Alberta saw 64 ATV related deaths and Stats Canada reports that approximately 73 people die in snowmobiling accidents each year. Some of the most prevalent reasons for accident and injury include:

Operating Recreational Vehicles While Intoxicated

Just like alcohol and cars don’t mix, ATVs and Snowmobiles are no exception. Drinking or consuming mind altering substances remove your ability to exercise sound judgment while driving and put you, your passengers, and others in your group at a significant risk. While it may be fun to grab a drink or two while hanging with friends, save it for after your off road adventure.

Underage/Under Experienced Drivers

Whether you’re renting or own your own recreation vehicle, it’s important to ensure that any drivers are properly trained and of legal age to be operating equipment. In Alberta, drivers must be a minimum of 14 years old to operate an ATV on public land or highways (where permitted). While there is no age restriction on private land, we strongly recommend making sure that any minors are supervised or accompanied by adults while riding, and that everyone takes the time to go over best safety practices beforehand.

Not Riding to Conditions

ATVs and Snowmobiles may be made for rugged terrain, but experienced riders will know when to call it quits and stay on safer ground. Some of the most severe accidents occur when riders try to push the limits of their vehicle without knowing the the terrain is safe enough to continue on. If you’re riding after heavy rain, on particularly sandy/unstable land, or dealing with unsettled snow in the case of a snowmobile, it’s best to exercise extreme caution until you’re back on more tried and true paths.

As an added note, it should be mentioned that speed is a consistent factor where severe accidents are concerned; in order to avoid major injuries like traumatic brain injures or spinal cord injuries in the case of a flip-over or wipeout, always be aware of your speed.

Insufficient Protection

Helmets, gloves, and other protective gear are designed to keep us safe when it matters most. Those wishing to ride responsibly and avoid injury know that safety gear should be worn at all times. Failure to wear the right gear can have devastating results, and quite simply, just isn’t worth the risk.

What Happens if I’m Involved in An Accident?

Sometimes, even with our best efforts in place, accidents happen. If you or someone you love have been involved in an ATV accident, the most important step is to seek medical attention immediately. Even if you feel “fine”, it’s important to monitor yourself for the following symptoms in the days and weeks that follow your accident:

  • Neck and back pain
  • Neck and shoulder stiffness/decreased range of motion
  • Headaches that start at the base of your skull and radiate upwards
  • Arm pain or weakness
  • Dizziness, fatigue, or blurred vision
  • Sudden pins and needles sensation in your neck or fingers
  • Memory gaps or difficulty recalling information, and more.

Once you’ve sought medical attention and gathered all relevant information, contact a personal injury lawyer like the team at James H. Brown and Associates to find out what next steps are necessary to proceed with getting the funds you need for medical care. At James H. Brown and Associates we understand the unique circumstances surrounding ATV and recreational vehicle accidents. Founded in 1993, our team is passionate about ensuring Albertans have the legal counsel and support they deserve when it comes to facing the realities of personal injury cases including those caused by ATVs and snowmobiles.

Contact us today to learn more about navigating personal injury cases and getting started on your road to recovery.


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