What to do if you get in an accident or come across one on the trail
A subject that could affect every off-road rider is what to do if you have an accident on the trail or even witness an accident. How do you deal with the accident and what are some precautions for helping injured riders should you find yourself being the first on the scene?
You might also want to know how helping out an accident victim can become an example of “no good deed goes unpunished.” These are all very real concerns and our take on the subject is not in any way legal advice; its merely suggestive yet hopefully useful information. Always use extreme caution when helping others who have been involved in an accident, as I have seen this not only create additional injuries, but also complications that have led to lawsuits.
Hopefully we are all aware of the precautions we all must take to insure we do not end up injured or killed should we have an accident on the trail. This includes the wearing or proper safety gear no matter what you are riding. This should always include a good helmet and goggles because you only get one head in life and one set of eyes so protect those. In my personal opinion you should also wear long pants as well as over the ankle boots for both ATV and Side-by-Side operation, along with gloves. While driving your Side-by-Side, use that seat belt that was installed in the machine for your protection as well. If you follow this you stand a much better chance of having less injuries. It will also benefit you greatly to have some form of first aid kit on hand when you ride. These small kits are invaluable in the event of an emergency and fairly inexpensive when you consider that it might save your life.
Carry a good first aid kit on the trail that is packed with items for any situation you might face. Bee stings are common on the wide-open trails and if a person in the group is allergic then you might prepare for this in case the problem arises. Kits like the ones that www.mymedic.us builds are great for these off-road trips and when these are combined with a little training you have already bumped the chances of overcoming the accident. The My Medic FAK kit contains great products for just about any basic situation as well as an Outdoor Adventure first aid guide packed with instructions on how to use the products inside. These packs are compact and simply drop into a glove box or cargo hold on an ATV/UTV or even strap to the back of your UTV seats.
Accidents on the trail can be very traumatic and a plan needs to be in place should your group experience this. In our First Responder training we were taught the ABCs of first on scene assessment. These were:
A: Airway – Is the airway open
B: Breathing – Is the accident victim breathing
C: Circulation – Is there a pulse? Is the patient bleeding?
D: Disability – Can the victim feel their arms, hands, feet and move them or answer questions relevant to their situation? Do they know their name, what day is it or how old are they.
E: Exposure – Are their injuries visible such as open wounds, broken bones or Cuts?
These are all things that may need to be relayed to emergency personnel while they are en route to your location.
If you have an accident and need help this is where a few things can either go right or wrong. If you have other riders with you (we recommend you never ride alone) and you are unable to move or have injuries that prevent you from getting to help, have them call for emergency services. As hard as it may seem at the time, you need to remain calm and control your breathing. This helps lower your heart rate and will also allow you to think more clearly. Making any rash decisions or movements during this time can be harmful and possibly fatal. If you come upon an accident and start to panic, then you have become part of the problem, so stop and breathe so you may be helpful and not harmful to the situation. Stabilizing an overturned vehicle or extracting a person from within a damaged rig can be tricky and should be done methodically with plenty of calm forethought as the people in the vehicle or even you could be injured even worse. Always look over the entire scene and execute a plan.
Knowing First Aid as well as CPR is crucial, not only for off-road situations but if you have kids it is paramount. Treating wounds is something you could be faced with on the trail and they may even be your own. There are many resources for instructional first aid and simple techniques for controlling bleeding, supporting broken bones as well as small abrasions, objects that somehow get into your eyes or, heaven forbid, something like a snake bite occurs while out on the trail. It can happen, so educate yourself and be ready for anything.
Whatever you decide after reading this short article, we hope you will take the time to educate yourself on first aid, carry some kind of first aid kit and ride safe on the trails.