All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) have become essential to country living, both for everyday chores and for rides just for the fun of it.

While ATVs are a trill to ride, they also can be dangerous. Between 1982 and 2015, 180 people died in Iowa in ATV accidents.

ATVs, an often generic term for all-terrain vehicles, off-road utility vehicles (UTV) and side-by-side utility vehicles, are fun and useful, and increasing in popularity for both reasons.

“They’ve become a valuable part of farm life,” says Dan Neenan, director of the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) in Peosta. “It’s the best new piece of equipment since the skid steer.”

ATVs were originally created for recreational use, a takeoff of military all-terrain vehicles. In today’s environment, ATVs are popular with small-acreage owners — for both recreation and work. They serve as a handy utility vehicle for acreage projects, and fun for the kids and grandkids.

But as ATV use increases, so do accidents, accentuating the need for safety. Neenan says four issues deserve top billing in the...