Think Safety When Using Liquid Tanks on ATVs

Russ Quinn
By  Russ Quinn , DTN Staff Reporter
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Liquid tanks can change the center of gravity on ATVs and UTVS. Make sure you make adjustments. DTN/The Progressive Farmer file photo.

One of the most popular pieces of equipment on farms and ranches today are All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) and Utility Task Vehicle (UTV). These versatile machines are at home on most any type of farm/ranch as well non-farm situations.

The downside to the popularity of these machines is the number of accidents has also been on the rise with more ATVs/UTVs. Records from 2014 estimate there were 93,700 all-terrain vehicle-related, emergency department-treated injuries in the U.S.

I think back to my own childhood and we had a three-wheeled ATV. That was until someone stole it right out of one of our buildings. Later we had a four-wheel ATV.

My two younger sisters really never had much to do with the farm but they would sometimes ride and drive on the four-wheeler. That was until the day they somehow drove it right into the side of a grain bin.

In typical big brother fashion I yelled: "How in the world do you drive into the side of a grain bin?" as it didn't jump out in front of them. They blamed sloping ground around the one side of the bin.

They were lucky they weren't hurt, and their four-wheeler driving/riding days were over. This was good news for me at the time as I didn't have to share it with anyone after this.

These vehicles are often equipped with liquid tanks for accomplishing such chores as spraying weeds or carrying water to remote livestock waterers. These tanks create a stricter set of safety recommendations, according to a recent press release from Iowa State University Extension.

The addition of a liquid tank on an ATV/UTV changes the center of gravity of these machines, making them more top-heavy and easier to roll over. The "live" liquid load sloshing in the tank also creates additional potential for overturns and injuries.

Charles Schwab and Mark Hanna, ISU Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, recommend these standard precautions for ATVs/UTVs with liquid tanks:

-- Stay under the manufacturer's specification for weight limits and rack capacity. Also use a tank with internal baffles to reduce quick liquid movement.

-- Use extra caution when making turns. Reduce speed more because of the possibility of liquid sloshing around in the tank.

-- Know how much weight can be transferred to one side of a vehicle and be prepared for rapid shifting of weight within the tank.

-- Pre-scout area for irregularities such as holes, stumps and rocks.

-- Tell someone where you will be operating your ATV or UTV and how long you will be gone.

Oh, and stay away from grain bins.

The entire release from ISU can be viewed at….

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