Autumn OutdoorsAutumn is ideal for off-roading, but there are added dangers compared to riding in the summer (and fall will be here before you know it!). When the weather becomes cooler and the leaves fall, off-road adventures can be tricky. Although the views may be breathtaking, this season isn’t the best time to throw caution to the blustery wind. When it comes to side by side vehicle safety, preparation and awareness are vital.

No matter where you intend on blazing a trail in the fall, make sure your UTV is functioning properly. Give it a tune-up and some tender loving care to make up for any summertime mischief you got into. Equip the vehicle with a sturdy roll bar, properly working safety belts and a durable front grill and winch. Now would be a good time to upgrade to all-weather tires as well.

The fall season is one big hazard for off-road enthusiasts. To protect against Mother Nature’s whipping winds and frigid temperatures, wear plenty of layers, and bring rain gear in case of a downpour. Summer storms leave fallen branches on trails, so look farther ahead than normal while riding. Only drive as fast as necessary in case there are wet leaves on the path.

Autumn rain wreaks havoc on rough terrain by turning the cold dirt into thick, sticky mud. Because less people ride in the fall, there won’t be as many heroes to haul you out of a muddy rut. This is why it’s a good idea to travel with companions. If you must ride alone, inform others of your intended route, and bring along a cell phone and CB radio.

One of the biggest mistakes off-roaders make is attempting to forge new paths. In the autumn, this can be even more risky. Leaves, twigs and larger tree limbs often camouflage danger zones. Riding on previously used trails will reduce the risk. However, don’t always expect to be able to manage a difficult maneuver just because someone else did.

When tearing through rugged terrain during the fall, you can expect some misadventures. The best way to turn a mishap into a brag-worthy tale is by using common sense. Carry the necessities such as food, water, a first aid kit and extra gas, and always ride with a level head. Autumn is the perfect season for experiencing the great outdoors on four wheels, so grab your riding gear and hit those happy trails.