• Steven E. Overmyer

Tips for a Successful Group Ride

Is there really anything better than hitting the offroad park with the people you love? A solo ATV ride can be relaxing, but offroading with a group can be a blast. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as loading up your vehicles and hitting the trails.

ATV riding can be dangerous, and the potential for disaster is only amplified when traveling in groups. When organizing your next ride, take a few minutes to educate yourself on safety and etiquette. These riding strategies will keep your from encountering any bumps in the road (or trail).

Don’t follow too closely

Avoid fender benders and damaged racks by maintaining a safe distance between yourself and rider ahead of you. It may be tempting to follow closely behind your buddies, but it’s an easy way to ensure damage to your vehicle or injuries amongst the group. Before you start up the engine, remind your fellow riders that you should all follow 30 feet behind the person ahead of you.

Be mindful of dust

Following too closely may not be a possibility when you’re dealing with dust, but a white out could pose certain dangers of its own. More people means more dust, and a white out can occur when there’s so much of it that you can’t see what’s ahead of you. For your own safety, you should know what to do when this happens.

Whatever you do, DO NOT stop in the middle of the trail. If you can’t see what’s ahead of you, whoever’s following probably can’t either - making you an easy target for them to hit. Instead, slow down and allow the person ahead to increase the distance between you. As you ride slowly, some fresh air should break up the dust cloud that you’re caught up in. If you feel like you have to stop, pull off of the trail immediately.

Use hand signals

Signaling is just as important while offroading as it is while driving a car. Before you start out on the trail, go over some simple hand gestures to help you communicate with one another.

For “stop,” simply hold your hand up in the airFor “slowing,” extend your left arm straight out and swing downwards toward your side For “right turn,” have your left arm raised in a 90 degree angleFor “left turn,” hold your left arm out straight with your palm facing downFor “oncoming vehicles,” extend your arm out, bent at the elbow, and swing upwards toward your head

Know your limits

In other words, know how fast you can go while maintaining adequate control of your vehicle. If you have a body type with a little more mass, keep in mind that you’ll have to travel at slower speeds, especially when turning. If you’re a little skinnier, you’re probably more agile as well - but that doesn’t mean you can take sharp corners at high speeds. Whatever you do, don’t drive recklessly; you’re not only putting yourself at risk, but you’re endangering your fellow riders as well.

Plan thoroughly

Want to ensure a flawless group ride? Then plan ahead. Choose an offroading location in advance, and find out if that place requires riders to fill out any paperwork (some ATV parks do). Have a plan for how you’ll transport your vehicles. Send out a checklist of what to pack, and assign certain items to certain people; for instance, a couple of people can be in charge of refreshments, while others can cover first aid gear and spare equipment.

Now that you’re ready to hit the trails, it’s time to decide where to go. Cross Bar Offroad Park in Davis, Oklahoma has 6,500 acres of trails, creeks, and fields to explore. Our park will be the perfect destination for your next group ride!

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