As many Coloradoans know, with the right modifications (and the appropriate tires), an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) can be ridden in the snow. However, snow and ice present unique challenges for even the most experienced ATV enthusiast.
So if you plan to hit the trails this winter, make sure that you’re doing so safely -- and legally. Not all ATV trails remain open in the winter. Some trails that allow snowmobiles don’t allow ATVs. Just make sure the trail you’re on is open and appropriate for your ATV, whether it’s a 4-wheel drive or a 2-wheel drive.
Watch out for snowmobiles – and don’t try to compete with them. They’re made for the snow, so they are typically faster and more nimble on snowy, icy trails. It’s also just wise to be courteous to other power sports enthusiasts. Allow plenty of space between you and whoever’s ahead of you – whether it’s someone else on an ATV or a snowmobiler.
Stay on the trail (and obey the posted signs.) This helps keep you safer because other vehicles have probably already cut a path through the trail. If you go off the trail, you don’t know what the snow could be hiding – for example, boulders and fallen tree branches.
Be careful around frozen lakes, ponds and other bodies of water. Typically, the rule is not to ride on ice unless it’s at least six inches deep.
Of course, no matter how careful you are, you can’t always protect yourself from someone who is negligent or reckless. If you’ve been injured because of another ATV driver, don’t underestimate the severity of your injuries until you’ve had them thoroughly checked out. Don’t settle for less than the compensation you need for medical care and other expenses and damages.