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Recent ATV accidents remind us to use ATVs with extra caution

Two separate ATV accidents over the weekend sent two people to local hospitals. The first ATV accident happened in Farmington when, according to the Marion County Sheriff's Department, a man was riding an ATV in his yard and went over an embankment, causing an ATV to land on top of him.

A second ATV wreck occurred in Fairmont on Mystery Lane. According to reports, three men were riding an ATV up a hill when it rolled. The driver of the ATV was flown to the hospital.

ATVs and UTVs are very popular forms of recreation in West Virginia. While ATVs are fun and can have several different types of practical uses, ATVs can be very dangerous. In fact, according the website atvsafety.gov, from 1982 through 2011, 588 ATV related deaths occurred, 66 of which were in children under 16.  In addition, a recent study concluded that West Virginia leads the nation in ATV deaths. To help stay safe, follow common sense safety tips and be sure to follow the following tips:

· Get trained on the proper driving techniques for ATVs

o Formal training allows one to understand how to control ATVs in certain types of circumstances. Drivers with formal training have a lower risk of injury than drivers with no formal training.

· Always wear a helmet

o Many injuries sustained from ATV wrecks are head injuries. Wearing a helmet may help to reduce the severity of such injuries.

· Don't ride on hard surfaced, paved roads

o ATVs are not designed to be used on hard surfaced roads and become more difficult to control while on paved roads.

· Don't drive or ride while intoxicated

o Alcohol makes it harder to react in certain situations.

· Don't ride as a passenger

· Don't drive with a passenger

· Don't allow children on adult ATVs

If you are intending on riding ATVs remember that while fun, ATVs can lead to devastating injuries. Be sure to use common sense when riding and use extra caution.

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