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Safety Tips for Off-Road Driving and ATV Riding in Alaska


The wilderness of Alaska presents many opportunities for scenic off-roading and trail driving. As fun as this activity is, off-roading can also be dangerous — it is important to take safety precautions.

Be prepared. Before embarking on your off-roading journey, the best thing you can do to make sure your trip is safe is ensuring you will be able to remedy any emergencies you may encounter. A tool box (including a jack, towing equipment, and shovel), first aid kit, and survival gear (water, food, a sleeping bag), are all good things to bring along with you in case of an emergency. Wear full-coverage clothing and closed-toe shoes that will further protect you from injury. If you’re riding on an ATV, always wear a helmet!

Let someone know where you’re going. When trail riding in the Alaska wilderness, you should avoid going alone. You should also tell a friend or family member about your plans. Tell someone where you are going to be riding, and when, before you head out — encountering an area that has no cell phone service is very possible. If you are in a place with service, you can be extra safe by sending someone your exact location via phone.

Stay on the trail, and drive smart. When exploring the beauty of Alaska, you may be tempted by the prospect of heading off of the trail. Leaving the trail behind is not only unsafe; it is also bad for the environment. By sticking to the trail, you’ll reduce your chances of getting lost or stuck, and limit the amount of destruction you cause to the nature you are exploring.

Even when staying on the trail, you should remain cautious of the paths you are taking. If you are unsure of your ability to drive in a certain area, it’s best to avoid it.

Don’t drive too fast. This is a golden rule of driving safety that must be constantly repeated, and is especially true when driving over hills, rocks, and other rough terrain you may encounter on an off-road trail.

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