Injury accident highlights importance of ATV safety

Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 6:24 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - An ATV accident sent four girls to the hospital in Minnehaha County. The accident occurred west of the 251st Street and 479th Avenue intersection Wednesday.

Authorities say the 13-year-old driver lost control and the vehicle rolled into an oncoming SUV. All four girls were ejected from the ATV causing non-life-threatening injuries.

The Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office says a few factors were at play for this accident.

“In the case of this accident speed was a factor, overdriving the conditions, not being familiar with the equipment, and then definitely the weather I feel played a role in this particular accident,” said Captain Adam Zishka, of the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office.

The crash serves as an important reminder for safety when operating an off-road vehicle.

The sheriff’s office says accidents involving off-road vehicles are common in South Dakota.

Empire Motorsports sells ATVs. Workers there say to avoid an accident, drivers should stay focused, especially on the roadway.

“The biggest thing is awareness, you want to be aware of your surroundings, you want to be familiar,” Empire Motorsports Salesman Jake Stelten said.

ATV drivers can end up in many different road conditions and need to know how to drive on them all.

“Gravel is going to ride differently for these machines than a paved street,” said Zishka.

The sheriff’s office says the more driving experience you have, the better.

“A UTV or ATV drives differently than a car and it does take some practice to get good at maneuvering those types of vehicles,” Zishka said.

But no matter how skilled you think you are, caution is key.

“Making sure you know your skill level and not riding above that, overconfidence is big trying to do stunts or trying to do something you’re not prepared for,” said Stelten.

Accidents will end up happening and the best way to keep yourself safe is to wear the proper gear.

“Making sure you’re wearing the proper safety gear, helmets are huge, goggles, making sure you have clear visibility, another big one is a riding boot or even a work boot that’s laced up over your ankle,” said Stelten.

The sheriff’s office wants to remind ATV owners that to drive an off-road vehicle on a gravel or paved road in the state of South Dakota you need to have a valid driver’s license.

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