In the excitement of taking to the trails with a CFMOTO ATV or CFMOTO side by side for the first time, it’s easy to forget all those safety rules you so doggedly studied—and it’s easy to get the first-time jitters! Not only do you want to stay safe when you are riding for the first time, but there’s also the pride factor involved, as you don’t want to look like an amateur in front of other riders. All that combined can lead to some very unsafe decisions being made on the trail—and, of course, lasting consequences.

At CFMOTO, we’re welcoming of all riders regardless of experience level, and as an ATV company and side by side manufacturer, we’re here to help you earn your stripes. Below, you’ll learn everything you need to know to make your first-ever ATV ride one for the ages.

Confidence: Find the Middle Line

Typically, first-time riders want to give the impression that they’re experienced and know exactly what they are doing. This may cause them to ride aggressively and recklessly, which can cause accidents for them and other people on the trails trying to avoid them. Know your limits and your novice status, but take care not to do too much pussyfooting. If you’re too careful and drive too slowly, you may become a safety hazard, just like a slow-moving car on the interstate.

That’s why we always recommend riding with an old pro your first few times out. Finding the line between brashness and timidity isn’t always easy, after all, and an experienced rider will be able to instruct you on which hazards are best navigated with quick finesse and which require a more calculated approach.

Mind Your Safety Gear

First-time riders often overlook safety gear, such as long shirts and pants, helmets, gloves, and more. If you are a first-time rider, take safety gear seriously. Yes, it’s expensive, but at the end of the day, it’s more affordable than hospital bills—plus, it looks awesome!

Navigating the world of ATV safety gear isn’t always straightforward; that’s why we’ve got resources for you. Check out our ATV manufacturer blog on finding the right riding helmet and our other entry on finding the right riding goggles. We also recommend Cardo’s blog on what to wear riding for a broader look at protective gear.

Know the Common Causes of Roll-overs

While part of the fun of riding an off-road vehicle is the various twists and turns that come with it, handling those movements carefully and in a controlled manner is extremely important. Otherwise, you risk literally tipping your vehicle—rolling over, in other words. Here are three common reasons riders rollover:

Looping Out

This is the most common cause of rollovers. If you hit the gas too hard, the front end of your ATV shoots up like a rearing horse, and the machine can fall backward, pinning you underneath. Needless to say, it’s a great way to ruin both your ride and your ATV.

Our recommendation to avoid this? Get to know your engine gradually, on sound terrain. Every ATV rides differently, even those within the same brand. Remain mindful of your machine’s weight and orientation, even when riding at low speeds. Just because you’re taking it easy doesn’t mean you’re completely off the hook; always practice safe riding! Rollovers can and do happen when caution is thrown to the wind at low speeds, as this study in the National Library of Medicine proves.

Sloppy Trails

ATV tires are designed to still catch on slick, muddy trails when you’re taking hairpin turns; that isn’t where the issue lies. If the tire catches even the slightest bit of dry ground while you’re mudding, it can jerk your momentum in a new direction and cause you to roll.

Before you head into terrain that you know will be sloppy, check in with your CFMOTO ATV’s tires to make sure they’re up for the task. Our blog on the subject has everything you need to know!

Steep Slopes

Going too fast or too slow up or down a steep slope can cause you to pitch backward or forward, rolling your machine and potentially causing a serious injury. Our two cents: leave the big climbs for future rides. They’re not something beginners should attempt, as they require finesse and the knowledge of your machine that can only be acquired via experience.

Loading: How to Do it Right

Loading your ATV or side-by-side into the back of a truck for the first time may seem easy and danger-free, but if you’re not careful, you could get seriously injured. As experienced riders know, you should never ride your off-road vehicle up the ramp into the bed of the trunk; because the incline is so steep, ATVs can easily flip backward and trap you underneath.

To properly load your machine and reduce the risk of injury, you should set up a stool next to the ramp and walk the machine up the ramp from the side.

CFMOTO ATVs and CFMOTO Side by Sides: Feature-Rich, Beginner-Friendly Vehicles

From the affordable CFMOTO 400 to the tricked-out CFMOTO 800 and more, we’ve got a full and functional list of rides just waiting for you to take to the driver’s seat. Use our online CFMOTO Dealer Locator today!