National Wildfire Coordinating Group

ATV – Transport


All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Loading/Unloading

Loading/unloading of ATVs has resulted in serious injury and even death to employees. Only those who have been fully trained in ATV operations should conduct loading/unloading procedures. The following safety measures are recommended:

  • Wear all personal protective equipment (including gloves, helmet, etc.) until ATV is either secured or unloaded.
  • Ensure header board (board placed in front of bed of truck or trailer) is in place and in good condition.
  • ATV tire ramps should be secured to trailer or tailgate and on level terrain.
  • If possible, use a tilt trailer to haul an ATV. If this is not feasible, try to lower back end of vehicle so slant of loading ramp is reduced. Back into a ditch, hillside, or anything else to try and lower back end of vehicle.
  • When loading ATV onto vehicle or trailer, keep seated, and lean body weight forward on ATV.
  • When unloading ATV, keep seated and keep weight forward. This helps keep ATV from flipping over backwards.
  • Never load or unload an ATV with a load on the racks. Load all ATVs empty.

Securing ATV for transport

Improperly loaded ATVs can be dangerous to you and other highway users. Steering can be affected if your load is not properly distributed. If not properly secured, the ATV can become dislodged during a quick stop or crash and damage equipment and cause injury or death.

  • Drivers are responsible for their load—regardless of who actually loads equipment. All drivers are responsible for:
    • Inspecting the ATV.
    • Recognizing overloads and poorly balanced weight.
    • Removing any gear loaded on the ATV.
  • Securing ATV’s:
    • Secure ATV in its normal operating position, on all four wheels.
    • Set the parking brake and place transmission in gear.
    • Turn off fuel valve.
    • Use chocks (that fit snugly against wheels) in front and back of ATV. Front end header boards should also block forward movement of ATV.
    • Tie down ATV at each corner. Use tie downs made from one-inch nylon strap or greater, with hooks at each end and ratcheting buckles (ordinary rope should not be used due to stretching), or tie-down straps that will lock in place.
    •  ATVs should never be hauled with a load attached to the cargo racks. Hazards exist from losing the load from the ATV while in transit.


Vehicles - Roads
Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
Aug 2023

Have an idea or feedback?
Share it with the NWCG 6MFS Subcommittee.

Follow NWCG on Twitter  and Facebook