13 UTV DOs and DON’Ts

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David Jackson | UTV DOs and DON'Ts | May 15, 2019

You just bought your new Intimidator UTV and you’re ready to hit the trails! Not so fast! Literally. Although our UTVs are built for stability, speed, and dependability, learning to drive a UTV or ATV is quite the responsibility. Regardless of whether you’re using one on the farm, going hunting or camping, or tackling off-road trails, it is always a good idea to read all safety precautions and not repeat the mistakes others have made. We want you to fully enjoy the capabilities of your ride - so we’ve compiled a partial list of things you need to know before saddling up your UTV.

1. WEAR PROPER SAFETY GEAR

The three most important things any UTV driver needs to know are safety, safety, safety. The absolute minimums include a helmet and eye protection. In California, helmets are required by law. When we get to states that don’t require helmets, far too few participants are wearing them. Other safety recommendations include long sleeves, gloves, and boots that go over the ankle.

2. DON’T DRIVE UNDER THE INFLUENCE

This is an obvious but important point, and applies as much to off-road situations as it does to driving on the expressway. Drugs or alcohol can severely impair your reaction time and judgment, so don't operate any machinery if you are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.

3. TIRE PRESSURE IS IMPORTANT

Tire pressure is vital for safety on all vehicles, but it is critical to safety and performance with a UTV. Each UTV has a specified range of correct air pressure for best handling and safety. Our engineers look for the best performance with the most possible safety conditions. Follow these recommendations! Pressure should go a bit lower in sand or mud, and higher in rocks - but always stay within the suggested guidelines.

4. STAY OFF PUBLIC ROADS

Most UTVs aren't made for paved roads, and their low-pressure tires are designed for off-road use. Because pavement adversely affects handling (not to mention that the law prohibits UTVs on most public roads), it's best to keep your UTV off-road. It's more fun there, anyway.

5. KEEP YOUR ARMS AND LEGS INSIDE THE VEHICLE AT ALL TIMES

Just like at Disneyland, it's key to keep extremities inside the vehicle when you're operating a UTV. Most UTVs have handholds for exactly that purpose. If the machine feels like it's about to tip, try not to break the fall with an arm or a leg - or what gets damaged might be that arm or leg. Let the safety restraints and cage do what they’re designed to do: protect you.

6. SUPERVISE

The lack of adult supervision is a major cause of UTV and ATV accidents in the United States. There are driving age restrictions posted on all of our UTVs and ATVs. They are there for a reason. Even if a teenager is of legal age, adult supervision is a must. Many UTV/ATV accidents could have be avoided if an adult had only been present.

7. DON’T BUY TIRES BECAUSE THEY “LOOK COOL.”

Nothing looks cooler than mounting up some monster, beefy, aggressive tires to your machine—until you realize that you could ruin the performance. If you buy outside of our recommended guidelines, you could risk compromising safety, and diminish other built-in features of your UTV. Your machine was built with certain tire-range sizes for a reason. In some instances there are very good reasons to change to a larger tire - for clearance, or to make the machine roll across obstacles better. There are other reasons to add heavier tires as well if you need the flat resistance or need to drive on sharp, broken rocks. Just remember if you surpass the parameters of your UTV safety guidelines, your steering might get heavy and you could lose some basic performance capabilities - not to mention compromising or eliminating many built in safety features that are engineered specifically for your UTV.

8. SUSPENSION SETTINGS ARE LIKE FREE MONEY

There is a reason why your suspension is adjustable. Use the adjustments to make sure that the ride height is set correctly, then spend time with the damping adjustments. You may be stunned at the improvements that can be had without spending a dime! Remember, the suspension needs to move freely. Grease isn’t free, but it’s close enough. Use those grease fittings, and your wallet and your spine will thank you.

9. DON’T DO DONUTS

We aren’t sure what it is about a UTV, but everyone who gets in one wants to start doing donuts. That isn’t a good idea in a tall machine with active long-travel suspension. It is a very good way to land your machine on its side. Avoid the temptation!

10. LEARN AND FOLLOW TRAIL ETIQUETTE

Stay to the right side of the trail, go slow near campgrounds, don’t speed into blind corners, stay on marked trails, and so forth. We routinely hold up fingers indicating the number in our group to oncoming drivers, and oftentimes they give us a smile and a thumbs up in return. Don’t be clueless. Be educated about what is expected on the trail. Don’t be the problem for your riding area. Have the correct paperwork, flags, exhaust and stickers for your riding area.

11. DRIVE WITH A GROUP

When driving on a trail, you should always travel with at least one other machine along. If you drive in a popular area where there are many other enthusiasts, you are probably safe to ride alone, but try to find a group to ride with.

12. RIDE ON DESIGNATED TRAILS AT A SAFE SPEED

Blazing a trail through the wilderness might sound cool, but it will almost certainly damage the environment, and your destruction could cause a great piece of recreational land to be closed - permanently. Keep riding areas open by sticking to the designated trail system, and always tread lightly - it's just responsible four-wheeling. Also, keep your speeds sane. That will ensure that you and your UTV make it home in one piece.

13. CARRY WHAT YOU NEED TO GET HOME

We frequently observe people who are broken down on the trail. They may have a boomin’ stereo and a cooler, but they didn’t carry a single tool or spare part with them. You must be able to repair a flat, change a CVT belt or at least get towed to camp. Don’t be unprepared. Remember the first-aid kit as well.

STAY SAFE WITH YOUR INTIMIDATOR

Intimidators are packed with safety features. However, the real safety comes with the person who is driving. Play hard and drive smart.  To check out more details about our vehicles, visit intimidatorutv.com. Here, you can find the specs, including safety specs, for all of our vehicles. You can even use our Build Your Own Intimidator tool to create a vehicle that meets all of your needs and wants. To see our world-class side-by-sides up close and in person, visit one of our DEALERS. Click on the DEALER LOCATOR on our website to find one near you. Drive safe. Drive responsibly!