A side by side, or UTV, is a cross between a jeep and an ATV. It looks like a golf cart had a baby with a jeep. Depending on the model and size of the vehicle, you may fit up to six people in the front and back seats, with room in a small flatbed behind that. Side by sides for sale are found almost everywhere that sporting goods stores are, and some are even sold in dealerships because these vehicles are street-legal (i.e., you can drive them on the streets). They are very open vehicles, which does not make them very safe for minors, but there are ways to make them safe with aftermarket accessories. Here are those accessories in which you may want to invest a little extra money.
Canvas Safety Belts
These seat belts are essentially woven snap belts that attach to the metal frames of the seats of the UTV then the clip closed over your lap. There are currently no shoulder belts for UTVs, but the seat belts that go over your lap are enough to protect all your passengers. If these belts start to fray, replace them as soon as possible if you want to continue using seat belts in your UTV.
Depending on the make and model of the UTV/side by side, some come with roll bars, but most do not. If the weight in the back or inside the cab is too much one side and not enough on the other side, the UTV may tip when spinning fast around a turn. The installation of a roll bar prevents the UTV from rolling and/or causing injury if the vehicle somehow rolls over and down an embankment.
Like jeeps, UTVs do have cab enclosures you can use to enclose the vehicles during bad weather and cold winter weather. The enclosures are mostly canvas and clear plastic, and they attach to the frame, windshield, grab bars, and roll bar (if present). The enclosures snap on and off, and doors in the enclosures zip open and shut. Still, the enclosures provide an additional level of safety and comfort that the completely open UTV does not.
If your UTV did not come with a cab enclosure, consider purchasing one after the fact. Learn how to use it, and how to put it on your UTV and take it off. You will be glad you did.
My husband bought my son his first ATV before he could even walk. From the time he could hold himself upright on that ATV, he has been in love with the sport. Now that my son is 13, we spend a lot of time and money building his ATV for racing. My husband has spent a lot of time learning about the aftermarket parts to use to make my son's ATV the fastest and the safest on the track. Visit our blog to find out a little more about what we do to ensure his ATV gives him the advantages he needs to succeed.