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As this year’s hunting season approaches, so does increased probability of ATV accidents. Though these popular off road vehicles are enjoyable and effective, they are also incredibly dangerous machines if not handled with care. With Muskoka's riders’ safety in mind, we’re stressing the cautions of hopping on the four-wheeler this hunting season, and sharing perspective from the insurance side of ATV ownership.

ATV insurance rates vary depending upon a variety of factors. Drivers under the age of 25 applying for ATV insurance on a vehicle over 400 CC’s are limited in the companies that will accept their insurance, and are charged higher rates. Drivers whom do not have a drivers licence still have the ability to drive the recreational vehicle and are covered in the event of injury, but do not have coverage on repairing the vehicle in case of collision. How many years one has been licensed, how long they’ve been operating ATVs, driving history and age, are all factors that affect ATV insurance rates. 

A key factor in proceeding safely on your ATV is wearing proper equipment. Clothing that doesn't protect your body while riding should be avoided. Goggles, a helmet, long clothes, over-the-ankle boots, and gloves should be worn when operating an ATV. Bright clothing, most recognizably “Hunter Orange”, should also be worn by anyone in the woods during hunting season. Fastening any hunting equipment to off-roading vehicles should be done with conscious care. Ensuring that the equipment isn't loaded, is in a proper case, is on “safety” mode and is positioned pointing away from your body and others’ are all necessities. 

As the woods become more congested in hunting season, drivers are not always expecting to meet others in their travels. Drivers should be alert when on ATVs to avoid collision with other drivers as well as pedestrians. Bears and other large forms of wildlife should also be on the list of things to look out for. Collisions involving bears and ATV drivers are popular, and occur when the driver is not proceeding with care. Bear collisions can be avoided by driving slowly, and paying attention to sounds and sights in your surroundings. Bears are active during the fall months as they are seeking food before hibernation. Collisions with these large animals can be fatal, so ensuring the collisions are avoided is of incredible importance. Having too many people on your off roading vehicle can also contribute to an increasingly fatal outcome of any type of collision. 

 Before you set out into the woods with your ATV, preform an inspection of the vehicle, including attention to the oil levels, gas levels, lights, breaks, and tire pressure.  Ensure your registration is up to date and that there is a rear license plate displayed on the back of the vehicle. ATV drivers should also consider adding additional reflective pieces to their machines, and packing an emergency kit for their trip. 

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