Safety tips for off-road vehicles

From 2015 to 2020, driving an off-road vehicle (ORV) was the second leading cause of death associated with sports and recreational activities in Quebec, after drowning (INSPQ, 2024). To make ORV use safe, it's important to adopt responsible and safe behaviours.

Find out about trail conditions

Before setting out on a hike, find out about trail conditions and the ice conditions of the bodies of water along the way.

To find out about trail conditions, consult:

Avoid unmarked water bodies

In winter, make sure you avoid unmarked bodies of water.

ORV clubs have the expertise to check whether the ice is thick enough to allow ORV traffic. On a waterway, the red markers installed by the clubs indicate that the ice thickness has been checked.

Trust your club’s experts and respect the signs, riding only on marked waterways. This way, you’ll avoid venturing onto a surface that’s too thin and liable to give way as you pass.

Always stay within the trail markers so as not to deviate from the trajectory secured by the club.

At night, in areas where traffic is authorized, be careful on waterways and stay on marked trails.

To find out more about how to behave, watch the video Sécurité sur les plans d’eau This hyperlink will open in a new window. (in French only).

Prepare a survival kit

Think ahead and prepare a basic survival kit to take with you on your ORV trips.

This kit can include the following items

  • a set of basic tools and an extra wrench;
  • spark plugs, drive belt and antifreeze;
  • a first-aid kit and manual;
  • a sharp penknife, saw or axe;
  • a nylon rope for towing (approx. 10 metres);
  • map and GPS;
  • waterproof matches, flashlight and whistle;
  • lightweight aluminum-treated blanket.

Be well prepared before going into remote areas

In remote areas, cellular networks may be inaccessible. In this case, certain precautions can be crucial to your safety:

  • have technological tracking equipment such as a satellite positioning system (GPS) or distress beacons at your disposal;
  • inform the people in charge of the areas you will be visiting, or someone close to you, of the exact location of your destination and inform them of your expected return date, with instructions to contact emergency services (911) in the event of your absence;
  • make sure you have the necessary equipment to deal with an injured person (first-aid kit) and a means of communicating with emergency services (two-way radio, satellite phone, etc.).

Remember that in the event of an accident, distance has a major influence on the time it takes for help to arrive and evacuate people, as well as on the time it takes to get you to a hospital.

Last update: April 30, 2024


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