Knowing ATV safety is a must for Summer fun - - Jackson, MS

Knowing ATV safety is a must for Summer fun

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

It's summer time and many people, including teenagers enjoy riding ATV's.

Although they can be a lot of fun, they pose danger to those who don't know how to operate them properly.
We've had four ATV related deaths within the past couple of weeks. All-terrain vehicles are not to be used by anyone 16 or younger and they typically shouldn't carry more than 1 passenger.

Experts we've talked to said four wheelers are meant for gravel, dirt and mud; you don't need to drive them on asphalt. Raymond Walters who works for Got Gear Motor Sports in Ridgeland says safety should be the first priority.

"The main thing you go back to safety wise is you always wear the protective clothing, the helmet, goggles, gloves, long shirts, pants everything like that," Walters explained.

Last weekend, three passengers, Lucy Hernandez, her son Isaiah Flores and Nathan Elinburg were killed after the ATV they were riding in was struck by an oncoming car on the highway in Leake County. A two-year-old who was also riding in the ATV suffered three broken vertebrae. 

"And most ATVs are not meant to carry a passenger, they're meant for one operator," said Walters. "When you have a passenger on the back it alters the handling of it, it lightens the front and it doesn't steer as well."

 The most recent ATV related accident was an eight-year-old out of Scott County who died Friday from head injuries he suffered while he was a passenger on an ATV when it collided with a tree. 

Walters said most ATV's are not meant to carry a passenger and because speeds can reach up to 50 miles per hour, safety should always be the first priority. We caught up with ATV owners at Mississippi Wildlife Extravaganza.

"I think one of the main things that ATV owners tell you is that one of the main rules is less than 16 need to be supervised by a licensed driver or an adult," said Blake Thomas, an ATV rider.  

"They are not meant to be operated by anyone under that age, so getting the right ATV for the operator is one of the main things and then the safety equipment again. The helmet, the goggles, the gloves, it's huge," Walters said.

There are also safety training courses with certified instructors in the area to teach you how to drive one properly.

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