Quad Bikes

quad bikes

Also known as All Terrain Vehicles (or ATVs) is defined by the America National Standards Institute as a vehicle that travels on low pressure tires with a seat that is straddled by the operator, along the handlebars for steering control. They are primarily designed for off-road use and can handle a variety of different terrains, making them extremely helpful to those working in agriculture and land management. Other uses include border patrol, construction, sheep herding, military, search and rescue, surveying and pipeline transport. It is operated and ridden much like a motorcycle, however the extra wheels provide extra stability at slower speeds. Most ATVs are designed for just the driver, however tandem ATVs are available that can accomodate a driver and a passenger.

It is also possible to buy sports models which are used competitively in offload events. These are built with performance instead of practical uses in mind and are usually lighter in weight, stronger in power and have a good suspension and low centre of gravity. Some models have even been modified to race in the desert, on ice, for climbing hills and even drag racing. There is even an ATV class in the Dakar Rally.

In some countries such as the UK, ATV are road legal vehicles under certain regulations. The law often requires the rider to hold multiple licences and to adhere to a number of strict safety rules, similar to those riding a motorcycle. It is also becoming a popular recreational activity in many places around the world, which allows experts and novices alike to experience riding the vehicles for fun over different terrain hazards.

To minimise potential risk there are a number of things you can do to ride your quad bike more safely. Much like any vehicle, checking the engine and all moving parts regularly is a must, and keeping them serviced frequently is essential to keep the vehicles healthy. Riders should be fully trained and skilled to operate or under strict supervision of those who are and aware of all the risks and hazards that are not normally expected.

Protective clothing is very important, and a helmet should always be worn. This is often one of the safety regulations that one must practice to be able to drive an ATV legally on the street. When driving on the street, it pays to dress as if you are operating a motorcycle with strong and resistant leathers, strong boots, reflective clothing and gloves so that you are easily seen by other drivers and that, in the unlikely event that you fall off the ATV, you minimise damage to your body. When operating an ATV off road, although a lot of these regulations will not be enforced, it is a sensible idea to follow them anyway and to protect yourself against any accident that could occur, especially bearing in mind that you are more likely to roll the vehicle and fall off as you traverse difficult terrain.

ATVs are essential vehicles to several different industries, besides the agriculture industry and the military, and not only have a number of very practical uses, but are incredibly fun to operate.

Rear Wheel Drive

rear wheel drive

Rear wheel drive vehicles contain a long drive shaft that transmit the power from the engine to the wheels at the back. This configuration comes with a few advantages, mostly that it is simple and rugged, particularly when the axel is solid. This reduces the risk of needing to repair your car, especially if you hit potholes or curbs that can damage your car, and has a much higher risk for vehicles with front wheel drive configuration. This is one of the reasons why a lot of service vehicles have this set up.

Rear wheel drive cars also have a better balance and are easier to handle. Where the main axel is at the back of the car with the driving wheels, the weight is more evenly distributed across the body where a front wheel drive car tends to put a lot more weight in the front of the body where they combine the transmission and axle into one unit. This is particularly effective in sports cars and tends to result in a quicker acceleration, and is one of the reasons that almost all race cars have rear wheel drive configuration. This is because there is more weight at the back of the car which pushes the driving tires down into the road.

When approaching corners in a front wheel drive car, one would usually have to slow down a little to take control, whereas in a rear wheel drive you have the ability to overwhelm the rear tires with power which can effectively point the nose of the car towards the apex, and by putting the power on the back tires, the front tires only have to manage steering instead of both the driving and steering, giving you more control. When the front wheels have to do both the driving and the steering, one can effect the other, creating a problem called “Torque Steering”.

Also, because of this improved balance, rear wheel drive vehicles tend to brake better and quicker. They tend to ride better and feel more nimble and sporty.

The disadvantages are mostly to do with traction. When surfaces are wet or icy, rear wheel drive cars are very difficult to control and can be very dangerous to drive. This is because, while the weight is more evenly distributed, there is less weight on the driving wheels, pushing them into the road to gain traction. Under heavy acceleration it is quite easy to oversteer and fishtail, although this can be used advantageously for drifting. Rear wheel drive cars also tend to be slightly more expensive to build as front wheel drive have a cheaper setup.

Not so much a practical advantage, but when you see a car in a movie with the rear wheels spinning create mountains of smoke from the asphalt, that is done with a rear wheel drive car. Other aesthetically pleasing effects are fishtail drifting, tire squeal and burnouts, which are only possible with this configuration. None of these are particularly healthy for your tires, or for timid ears of elderly people, but can be very satisfying to pull off.

Safe driving tips

safe driving(1)

To ensure the safety of yourself, your passengers, and everybody else around you, here are some good practices to improve your safety ratings while driving.

“Don't drive while tired” is one of the oldest cliches in the book, but it's a cliche for a reason. Tired drivers make many more mistakes than alert drivers. Caffeinated drinks are not always the best solution as although you gain an initial boost, the effects wear off over time and can leave the consumer feeling drowsy or can distract their concentration from vital matters. Ensure that you take brakes during long journeys to maintain your concentration. Also ensure that you are consuming enough food and water to upkeep your concentration and comfort. If you are travelling a long distance with two able drivers it is also a good idea to drive in shifts to allow each other to rest.

Avoid distractions - while cell phone usage is legal in some countries and states it is absolutely not advisory as it will take your concentration from the road. Use a handsfree device does reduce this, but while talking on the phone through one of these you can still be distracted from your driving. If possible, power down your phone or leave it on silent and out of reach.

As well as ensuring you have had enough sleep, you should ensure that you are sober. Even after one beer our bodies become more tired and our concentration begins to slip. Something you might not consider so much is if you are sober from the night before when you are driving in the morning. If you are not sober or you are not sure, avoid driving at all.

When you are driving rental cars, it pays to spend ten or fifteen minutes familiarising yourself with the location of all the devices on the vehicle before you even turn it on. Check for the position of the horn, the lights, the signal indicators, the wipers and screen cleaning devices, the hazard lights and everything you could possibly need to know to help prevent an accident. Also, if your'e driving abroad, you should learn the local driving laws, and always ensure you are driving on the correct side of the road before you take off.

Always check the condition of your vehicle for things like tyre pressure, oil and water levels and also fuel levels. This not only will ensure that you are less likely to have an accident, it will also reduce your fuel consumption as you drive. For longer or more hazardous trips, you may want to have a mechanic perform all of the checks for maximum safety.

You should always drive to the speed limit. Speed limits not only lower your fuel consumption, they are put in place for a reason. Fast driving is reckless and dangerous, and even when you are particularly familiar with the route, you never know what could be waiting around the corner and your over-confidence could be the death of you.

Wearing your seatbelt will ensure your safety in the event of an emergency. Have these checks regularly, particularly after they have been potentially stretched following an accident or an emergency stop.

Drive defensively and always read the road. Be aware of everybody else and their safety and what you can do to minimise risk to them.