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How can I stay safe on an all-terrain vehicle?

All-terrain vehicles -- such as four-wheelers, for example -- are so much fun. They're an excellent way to spend a weekend afternoon with family and friends, exploring the mountains, the countryside, the beach or your big backyard. However, it's vital that all Alabama residents remember that ATVs are dangerous.

To minimize the hazards associated with all-terrain vehicle use, Alabama outdoor sports enthusiasts should:

-- Use an approved safety helmet, proper footwear and use other kinds of protective gear when operating an ATV.

-- Never carry passengers on a single person ATV.

-- Require anyone driving the ATV to read the manual and only let ATV drivers operate the vehicle in safe areas.

-- Learn the local rules and regulations that apply to ATV usage.

-- Attend safety training classes before using an ATV, and practice under the safest conditions possible before attempting more challenging ATV driving.

-- Never operate an ATV while intoxicated.

-- Carry a communications device while using the ATV so you can reach out for help in the event of an emergency.

The above list is the most basic list that ATV operators should adhere to in order to minimize the chances of an ATV accident and injuries. There are certainly a lot more guidelines one should follow -- especially as it relates to Alabama state law. Also, the most important piece of advice is to use common sense and don't take unnecessary risks just for the "thrill" of it. Safety should always be an ATV enthusiast's number one priority.

If an accident does occur and catastrophic ATV injuries result, injured ATV drivers -- or their family members -- may want to look into whether the ATV was defective and whether the defects may have caused the accident and injuries. In such situations, a personal injury claim to seek financial damages could be warranted.

Source: FindLaw, "http://injury.findlaw.com/car-accidents/atv-injuries-and-accidents.html," accessed Feb. 16, 2017

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