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Driving All The Time

My father-in-law regularly told his daughter to �Drive all the time.�

That simple sound bite said so much: pay attention; use common sense; don�t let your guard down, ever.

Too many Kentuckians aren�t taking that advice.

In the last two years, Kentucky led the nation with the highest death rate from ATV accidents involving potential ATV riders. Nearly all of those deaths were 12- to 24-year-old males.

The thing about ATV injuries is they tend to be preventable. They result from not wearing helmets or from driving unsafely.

Kentucky�s natural beauty makes the state an especially fun place for ATVs. This month�s cover story profiles people on the trails and racecourses with this hugely popular pastime.

But to truly enjoy ATVs, they need to be treated as potential dangers. All the time.

It might seem cute to drive a grandchild around in your lap, but it�s not. It�s easy to think that for just this one outing you don�t need to put on your helmet, but people have died from that decision. Speeding down an unexplored trail might be a blast, but it�s stupid.

Wear safety gear. Don�t drink and drive. Know the trail. If you�re going to go over a jump, know what�s on the other side and how you�re likely to land. No passengers. Get trained.

There�s a lot of advice available. One of the most helpful ATV safety lists I found is on the Web site of the Midwest Trail Riders, an ATV group for Indiana and surrounding states. You can find that list at www.midwesttrailriders.com/atv/atv_safety.asp. Print it out and hang it on your fridge.

Parents, supervise your kids on ATVs. Kids, know the suggestions for safe riding and follow them.

All the time.

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