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XTV Trail Etiquette: Keeping Your Excursions Safe and Friendly

Even if you’re used to spending time in the wilds, good trail etiquette is different if you’re driving one of Argo’s unique off-roaders. These tips will help you keep in the good graces of park rangers and your fellow outdoor enthusiasts, preserve the wilderness and prevent accidents.

Know Where You Can Go

You can go almost anywhere in an Argo, but that doesn’t mean you should. Trails aren’t just there to make crossing wilderness easier: it also helps keep people and vehicles from damaging sensitive ecological areas.

XTVs are seen differently from area to area, and this will determine where they can operate. Due to their width, Argo’s XTVs are usually classified as UTVs or ORVs on most trails. Access is limited places where the trail is wide enough to let these larger vehicles pass each other. Some areas permit driving off-trail under specific circumstances, such as recovering game. Permit requirements also vary, from needing no pass to requiring special operator and vehicle permits.

Yielding and Passing

Stay on the right side of the trail. If you’re part of a group, stay in a straight line.

Signal the person ahead before you pass them with a light honk or by shouting “on your left.” Only pass in areas that have even terrain and a wide path that doesn’t push anyone off of the trail. Until then, keep a safe distance behind the people you want to pass. If someone wants to pass you, move to the side of the trail.

If you’re in a group and pass by someone going the opposite way, hold up your fingers to show how many vehicles are behind you. If you’re the last in the group, hold up your fist. This lets yielding vehicles know when it’s safe to pass.

Wheels yield to heels: Motorized vehicles should always offer the right-of-way to people and non-motorized vehicles. In narrower areas, hikers and cyclists may move out of your way because it’s easier to step off of the trail than have you drive off of it. However, it’s up to them whether they do this or not.

Yield to everyone when entering a trail or when crossing a trail.

Come to a complete stop at road intersections.

Yield to vehicles going uphill. If they stop, it may be hard for them to build up momentum again.

Horses are easy to spook, requiring extra care. If possible, signal the rider while they’re still at least 50 feet away and ask them how they’d like to pass. Always yield to horses, pulling off of the trail on downhill slopes. Horses tend to run uphill if they’re scared, and they may think your vehicle is a threat if it’s on higher ground. Keep in mind that they’re more scared of people and vehicles they aren’t familiar with. Your Argo doesn’t look like anything else on the trail, making it more of a threat.

Respect Those Around You

Follow the speed limit and slow down with passing cyclists and hikers. High-speed driving kicks up dust and will wash out dirt and gravel trails.

Help Maintain the Trail

Your XTV’s low ground pressure keeps it from tearing up paths like a UTV, but it’s still possible to dig ruts by spinning your wheels. Keep your vehicle in high gear unless you need to make tight turns and go easy on the throttle.

If you open a gate, close it. This helps deter people from bringing oversized vehicles onto the trail.

Camping and Backcountry Travel

Keep it quiet: If you’re driving through a camping area, drive directly to your campsite. Don’t run your vehicle or turn on its lights during curfew, usually, 10 or 11 pm to 5 am.

Fires should only be started in designated areas. Check regulations and fire safety conditions before starting a backcountry fire.

Pack out everything you bring into the area.

Don’t leave cairns or other markers on backcountry trails. This encourages others to take the same path, increasing wear on the trail. By having visitors rely on maps, their paths vary, spreading wear over a larger area.

Wash up at least 100 feet from water sources to keep them from being contaminated.

Get Your Argo Ready for Your Next Trip

Need help getting your XTV ready for an excursion? Want to add some accessories to make the trip more comfortable? Shank’s Argo doesn’t just sell XTVs: we offer the service and support you need to get the most out of your vehicle. Our shop is at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. To get here, take Exit 10 from Interstate 81. Need help choosing accessories for the trail? Visit www.shanksargo.com.

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