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Sport UTVs:
Can-Am Maverick 1000R X-ds Turbo
Polaris RZR XP 4 1000
Polaris RZR XP 1000
Arctic Cat Wildcat
Can-Am Maverick
2016 Polaris RZR XP Turbo

Sand Dune Safety

"It will never happen to me..."

Riding off-highway vehicles in the sand dunes has become very popular over the last few decades.  Unfortunately along with the increased use, reported cases of serious injury have also increased.

With more injuries in the news, lawmakers feel the pressure to do something to fix the problem. When enacting new laws, lawmakers need to remember that you can't legislate wisdom. Some people refuse to use basic safety precautions when riding their OHVs, so injuries and fatalities are bound to increase as more and more people buy them. The only way to reach these people is through education and enforcement. Most of the time this does not require any new laws.

With this increased popularity, and closures of more and more land that was once open to OHV use, being safe in the dunes is more important than ever. Laws and enforcement vary from state to state, but please remember these tips before you ride.

Important Safety Reminders:

  • Always wear a helmet and other protective gear.

  • Always use a whip flag so that other riders can see you.

  • Never rider under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.

  • Ride an ATV that's right for your age and size.

  • Do not carry passengers on a vehicle not designed for it.

  • Supervise younger riders.

  • Do not ride beyond your ability level.

  • Do not ride alone.

  • Keep your speed in check. Choose a speed that is proper for the terrain, visibility, operating conditions, equipment and your experience. Always keep your speed at a level that will allow you to slow for unforeseen drop-offs and witches eyes. Speed limit is 15mph within 50 feet of any campground, campsite, or concentration of people or animals. Basic speed laws also apply - it is illegal to operate an off-highway vehicle faster than it is safe for conditions.

  • Familiarize yourself with the dunes before riding hard. Never push the limits at a dune you are not familiar with. First time at the dunes should be following a rider that has been there before.

  • Do not cross straight over a ridge/razorback. Approach at an angle so that you can check for other riders and drop-offs. Whenever possible try to transition a ridge on the drivers side of the car. Your vision over the top of the lip is much better on your side of the car. How not to cross a razorback - video demonstration. Why it is important to cross a ridge at an angle - Ridge Crossing 101 video.
    Never cross straight over a ridge.  Make sure you can see the other side first.

  • When approaching another rider head-on, remember to "break right" to avoid a collision.

Dune Safety - Break Right to avoid head on collision

  • Always use a spotter when jumping. Spotters should always be at the top of the hill. Look before you jump! Dune bashing goes wrong in Qatar - Video.

  • Speed limit is 15 mph within 50 feet of camps, pedestrians or animals. Don't operate an off-highway vehicle faster than it is safe for conditions. (38305 C.V.C.)

  • Make sure you can be seen - it is always safer to ride on top of a ridge than down at the bottom of a drop-off that someone may fly over. 
    Dune Safety - Make Sure You Can Be Seen

    Also make sure your whip flag is at least 8 ft. off the ground and does not bend too much while riding. If you park in the dunes, make sure to park one or more vehicles on a high spot.
    The quad parked at the top of the ridge helps others know that you are there.
    The quad parked at the top of the ridge helps others know that you are there.

  • Make sure someone knows where you are going and when to expect you back.

  • Always carry a cell phone.

  • A GPS will greatly increase the odds of help finding you.

  • Carry a tow strap.

  • Carry a first aid kit.

  • Carry extra water.  Especially during warmer weather.

Respect the Land - Or Lose Your Access:

  • Ride only in areas designated for OHV use.

  • Obey trail markers and closure signs.

  • Leave the area cleaner than you found it.

  • Respect Private Property.

  • Do not ride over vegetation.

  • Excessive noise disturbs people, wildlife and is against the law in many sand dunes. Make sure you know local sound requirements.

Safety Links:

Back to Sand Dune Guide

Long Travel:
Can-Am Commander Long Travel Kits
Kawasaki Teryx Long Travel Kits
Polaris RZR Long Travel Kits
Arctic Cat Prowler Long Travel Kits
Yamaha Rhino Long Travel Kits

Favorite Sites:
UTV Guide
Crowley Offroad
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