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If you’re interested in taking your ATV truly off-road or out for a higher-speed spin, the most important piece of equipment you have when it comes to your ATV is your safety helmet. If you end up in a crash, the right helmet could help save you from serious injuries. Choosing just the right helmet for you isn’t just about the color, or whether or not it has an interesting or aesthetically pleasing design — you’ll want to put plenty of thought into researching just the right size and shape to help you stay safe on your ATV.
Never Buy Secondhand
Buying a helmet secondhand or taking one from a friend who offers you their old helmet may seem like a great way to save some money, but we strongly advise all of our ATV customers to purchase new. If you take or buy a used helmet, you won’t know the total story of what that helmet has been through. Even if there are no visible cracks, the helmet may have been weakened by a smaller crash or even just with age, making it less able to protect you in case of an accident.
Also, let’s be honest — you want to know that the helmet you’re wearing is clean. With a used helmet, you can’t be sure that the previous owners kept theirs clean after use. Think about how hot and humid South Carolina summers get. With a new helmet, you can know for sure that you’ve been the only person wearing it in 90-degree heat.
A Higher Cost Doesn’t Make for a Safer Helmet
While it may be tempting to go all-out and buy an expensive, heavily-designed helmet to go with your Bad Boy Off Road ATV, the most expensive helmet isn’t necessarily the safest one. Instead, set yourself a budget that you won’t exceed for helmet spending, then research to find the best ratings for helmet avialable within that budget. Generally speaking, the lighter the helmet, the more expensive it is, so be sure to try on helmets while you’re researching and comparing prices, to make sure you find the right fit and the right price.
Take a Look At The Materials
ATV helmets are made of plastic, with higher-priced helmets often containing fiberglass, reinforced with carbon fiber. Fabric and foam interiors help to provide both comfort and additional safety.
Thinking about buying a generic motorcycle helmet for your ATV? Helmets for motorcycles are generally designed to break in a crash. In a car crash, the human body will take on the energy expelled when the vehicle crashes, and motorcycle helmets are designed to dispel this energy by breaking apart. After even a lighter crash without extensive injuries, a motorcycle helmet will be damaged, and won’t provide the same safety it did upon initial purchase.
Take a look at helmets expressly designed for ATVs while at your local dealers. They should let you try some on to find the right fit, and be willing to speak with you about what you plan to use the ATV for and therefore what safety ratings will be most important.
Staying within your price range, keep an eye out for safety ratings and ask around to find those nearby who have experience with the kind of helmet you’re interested in purchasing. Make sure the helmet meets Department of Transportation Safety Standards. If it does, there should be a sticker on the back of the helmet that you know it’s been rated as safe, or a sticker from Snell (an industry authority when it comes to safety standards for off-road motocross helmets). Some helmets will have both stickers on them.
If you don’t see a safety sticker on the back of the helmet, don’t make the purchase and keep looking. Odds are good you’re looking at a novelty helmet designed with aesthetics rather than ATV safety in mind.
Make Sure It Fits
If your helmet is too large or too small, it could cause even greater risk in the event of a crash. Go ahead and ask to try the helmet on before purchase, to ensure that it fits correctly. Mens’ helmets will be designed with a different fit than womens’ or childrens’ helmets, so try on every single option to find the right fit. If it’s just a little too tight, that’s not a problem — the padding inside will pack down time with use. The more important issue is to ensure that the helmet in question isn’t too loose, which will make it slide around during use and no longer provide much in the way of protection.
Make sure the chin strap buckles securely, but is not uncomfortable. Try undoing and redoing the buckle a few times to see whether or not it’s difficult to undo. You should be able to slide at least two of your fingers between the strap and your skin, but much more than that suggests that the helmet is too loose and you’ll need to tighten the strap.
Is the Helmet Lining Removable?
Not all ATV helmets include removable lining, but it can be important, especially during those South Carolina summers. Taking your ATV out for a ride, or on a hunting or fishing trip, can be really dirty, especially if it’s recently been raining. Being able to clean the lining inside your helmet will help it to have a longer lifespan (and it’ll smell better, too.)
We suggest looking for a helmet with some ventilation, to help you stay cool when the thermostat rises.
Make Sure Your Face is Covered
An open-faced helmet may be tempting, since it seems more comfortable and you’ll be able to speak more clearly, but we do not recommend open-faced helmets with ATV use. They simply can’t provide the same level of safety that a total face-covering can, and you’ll need that kind of protection if you are involved in an accident.
If you are involved in a crash and your helmet received any impact — replace it afterwards. The protection the helmet provides will be compromised after any kind of serious crash, and you’ll need to get a new helmet to continue staying safe.
Interested in ATVs? Go With Garrett’s Has You Covered!
At Go With Garrett’s Golf Cars and Specialty Vehicles, we were thrilled to be able to add the Bad Boy Off Road Stampede 900 to our lineup! We’d love to speak with you about what you’re looking for in an ATV and help you to choose the right specialty vehicle for you. Whether you need an ATV for hunting, fishing, or even just to head out to one of South Carolina’s beautiful ATV parks to enjoy the day, we’re here to help! Reach us by phone at (803) 407 2687 for Columbia, (864) 862 7709 for Greenville, (843) 881 8894 for Charleston, or contact us online at any time to learn more about our new or preowned golf car and ATV options, rentals for wedding or corporate events, parts & service, or customization options!