What To Know Before Driving an ATV for the First Time

Traveling provides the opportunity to venture into the great outdoors. Among every activity, learning to drive an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) stands out as a uniquely captivating experience.

Driving an ATV for the first time can offer an unparalleled sense of adventure for an unforgettable travel experience. Read on to discover what you need to know before navigating rugged landscapes.

Accelerate Smoothly To Avoid Spinning Out

Smooth acceleration is key to maintaining control of your ATV, especially on loose or slippery surfaces with limited traction. Abruptly hitting the throttle can cause the wheels to spin out.

Gently roll on the throttle as you start moving to prevent spinning out or flipping over. When the ATV gradually picks up speed, the tires gain a firm grip on the terrain for a more stable ride.

Your Body Offers Balance and Control When Driving ATVs

An ATV is not well-balanced with stationary passengers. Your weight—along with how you distribute it—will have significant effects on the shifting and control of the vehicle.

For turns, lean your body—not just your arms or head—in the direction of the turn. When steep inclines or rocky patches arise, consider adjusting your weight to the front or rear to maintain traction and stability. Most types of terrain demand keeping your weight centered and leaning slightly forward.

Bonus Tip: Don’t Carry a Heavy Backpack

Carrying a backpack while riding an ATV can significantly impact your balance because of the added weight distribution at your back. This change can make it more difficult to lean into turns and adjust your body position.

Implementing Turning Techniques Better Handles Different Terrain

Every type of terrain requires special turning techniques to support safety. Use these tips to better navigate turns on sand, mud, and gravel.


Driving on sand requires a constant, more aggressive throttle to keep the ATV moving forward and prevent it from getting bogged down. Implement wider turns and shift your weight back slightly to improve traction.


Mud is slippery and unpredictable. When traversing muddy areas, keep a steady pace and avoid sudden changes in speed or direction. Use the ruts made by other vehicles as a guide, but be prepared for the ATV to slide. Keeping your weight centered and applying gentle throttle can help maintain control.


Gravel can be loose and cause the ATV to fishtail. Lower your speed, increase your following distance, and apply the throttle smoothly to avoid spinning the tires. Anticipate skids and be ready to counter-steer to maintain direction.

Maintain Environmental Awareness When Operating ATVs

When venturing into the great outdoors on an ATV, it’s imperative to maintain a deep respect for the environment around you to protect yourself and others. Keep your eyes peeled ahead to ensure that you don’t hit unexpected bumps or disturb the environment.

If you’re concerned about personal safety, one of the many reasons to book ATV tours is that the guides know the landscape and wildlife. They will keep you on the designated trail and prepare you for various turns and terrain.

Driving an ATV for the first time is an invitation to unlock the world like never before. By taking the time to mentally prepare, you’re sure to have the trip of a lifetime.

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