As we cross the mid-way point in September, many powersports enthusiasts are, no doubt, counting down to October when dune season gets underway. In order to get you ready for some fun in the sand, we’ve pulled together this list of tips to help you prepare and be safe.
Proper gear for both rider and vehicle are essential to both your comfort and safety. At a minimum, make sure you have a helmet and goggles. This goes for your passengers, too.
Gloves are also a good bet, as they’ll both protect from you from the cold air as the season progresses as well as the stinging of the sand, and stave off blisters.
And don’t forget the footwear. For ATV riders, a good pair of boots will spare your feet and ankles from damage. For the UTV fans, protective footwear is also recommended for both you and your passengers.
Finally, wear clothing that is both comfortable and shields you from the elements – sun, wind and sand.
Whip it; whip it real good
No, we’re not channeling our inner Devo; we’re reminding you that perhaps the most important piece of safety gear you can have for your vehicle is a flag, aka a whip.
With visibility in the dunes limited, the whip is an absolute necessity (and typically required by law) in ensuring that other riders can see you. And be sure the flag is secured to your vehicle as errant whips can be hazardous. If riding at night, be sure to use a lighted flag.
Friends don’t let friends dune solo
As with many things in life, dune riding is best done with others. Having someone around to assist in the event of an injury or mechanical malfunction is, of course, helpful. But, beyond that, having a spotter, is also a safety-related “best practice.”
Sure, you’ve read this post and will be Mr. or Mrs. Safety First out there, but not everyone is quite that responsible. In order to protect yourself from “that guy,” determine the area you plan to ride in and place a spotter on the highest dune in that area to serve as a spotter. With a bird’s eye view, a spotter can relay information about dangers which might otherwise be unseen by the rider.
Use your head, man!
There’s simply no substitute for common sense, so be sure to pack a healthy dose before you head out. Don’t drink and dune; stay alert; be aware of the limitations of both you and your machine. Yada, yada, yada.
Do your homework
The “fine print” on off-road vehicle riding varies from state to state, so be sure to check the laws and other requirements in your area. If you prefer to cheat off our homework, just click on the state names below to visit the resource page for OHV riding in that state.
And last, but most certainly not least…
Take care of the machine that takes care of you
Surprisingly, many articles about dune safety leave this tip off the list, but, for god’s sake man, make sure your ATV, UTV or dirt bike is up to the task.
Chances are, it’s been sitting in the garage for months, dormant since the last dune season ended. Do yourself a favor and get that puppy checked out. Oil, fuel, air filter, tires, battery, brakes – the list goes on.
Many dealerships offer maintenance and parts specials on dune vehicles right before or early in the season. Some even provide free safety inspections. Four words: Take advantage of those.
What’s your favorite dune riding spot? Use the “Leave a Reply” box below to share.