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Safe Operation Tips For Side by Sides

Safe Operation Tips For Side by Sides

Side by sides are akin to cars in that they operate with similar controls. You have the set-up of a car—steering wheel, seatbelts, gas and brake pedals, and a passenger seat—without the fully enclosed design. Side by sides do offer protective roll cages which provide a bit of protection from the elements too. Unlike cars, these aren’t at all meant to be replacements for them. In fact, they’re meant to be driven far from the paved roads of everyday transit. Whether you ride alone or with a passenger, proper use of side by sides will keep you safe from harm’s way. Here are a few tips on making sure all parties involved get home in one piece, including the vehicle.

  1. Stay Off Public Roads! This is a huge issue that cannot be stressed enough. Side by sides are, by nature, designed for off-road use. Their low-pressured tires aren’t meant for paved roads and they just won’t be able to keep up with vehicles. Besides, it’s a law that side by sides remain on designated trails, not public roads. There have been countless accidents and deaths caused by poor judgement calls to use these roads. The only time you should ever encounter a public road is if you absolutely must cross over. In this case, you need to be absolutely certain there is no oncoming traffic. One false move could land you or your passenger in the hospital. If there is a way around the road, take it. Your life is worth more than shaving off transit time.

  2. Understand the Accident Potentials for Side by Sides: While side by sides are capable of trudging through off-road environments, they can be prone to accidents when the driver isn’t being cautious, or the terrain has a hidden bump or drop you didn’t see. Having these possibilities in mind will help you steer clear of all visible obstacles. Collisions can be avoided by general awareness, so this shouldn’t be a huge concern. As you gather speed, try not to take turns too swiftly—the SxS could be at risk for roll-overs if you hit the turn too quickly. Watch for bumps in the path as well as you can. Hitting a large bump could make the SxS turn a front flip, especially if the suspension isn’t in working order. If you’re climbing a steep hill, don’t slow down! Keep the speed steady so you don’t flip backwards.

    This all boils down to smart handling and situational awareness. Drive the SxS with common sense know-how and you will be A-OK.

  3. Don’t Try to Make New Paths: Trying to create a new path could result in an assortment of issues. You could jam up your SxS in thick brush, rocky mud, or water. You could easily get a flat tire or find yourself on the ground with a rolled over vehicle. Plus, doing this destroys natural habitats. Do you really want to be that person that causes land to be closed off altogether from a choice like that? Probably not. Be respectful to your surroundings by staying true to designated trails.

  4. Keep Up with Side by Side Maintenance: A major safety measure is one that requires you to simply take care of your side by side. Easy enough, right? Always be sure to keep fluids changed, tires full, and the vehicle clean by seasonal washes. Performing pre-ride checks is a great way to ensure a safe and hassle-free trip as well. Check all the necessary mechanics so you know you’re good to go. If something looks amiss, you can address it before heading out.

  5. Preparation Through Protection: Staying safe is largely influenced by the agree of protection you have for yourself and the vehicle. Keep a DOT-certified helmet on as you’re driving. It’s required by law in most states and will keep your head, eyes, and ears protected. If you’ve just gotten your side by side, it’s a smart move to install pieces like rolls bars, storage boxes, winches, enclosures (for cold weather driving), and season-specific tires. Prepping your SxS will make it that much more capable of handling all that the season brings. Storage boxes will allow you to stow essentials like tools, rope, a first aid kit, a knife, a flashlight, and more. If you’ll be out in the field for more than a few hours, it’s wise to pack for potential issues you could face. For example, what if your side by side’s battery stopped working and you couldn’t get it started again? If you’re far from home, you’ll need items like food, water, and a way to contact someone for assistance. If the weather is cold, extra gear is also a good idea to help keep you warm until you either find help or someone comes to tow you out. By preparing for potential scenarios, you can save yourself from being in dire situations. You may not be able to entirely prevent accidents and vehicle malfunctions, but you can prepare to handle them.