What is a UTV and is it street legal?

Home » What is a UTV and is it street legal?

Initially, you might not know what a UTV is. Well, the photo might give things away, and you’ve most likely seen one of these before. Heck, you might have even driven one at some point! So, what exactly is a UTV, what does it stand for, and can you drive one on the street with all the other cars and vehicles? 

What is a UTV?

UTV stands for utility terrain vehicles – or utility task vehicles. They are built for multiple occupants and will contain ample storage space. However, as the name suggests, their main purpose is to work on many different terrains. This will include the ability to go off-road and handle things like bumpy forest floors, mountainous pathways, and even sandy dunes. 

You drive them as you would an automatic car; there’s a steering wheel and pedals for the brake and gas. They tend to have open doors with no windscreen or windows around them at all. You’ll typically find UTVs manufactured by brands like Polaris or Kioti, and they can be used in a range of circumstances. Farmers often use them to get around their fields, while they are commonly seen around National Parks as well. But, you can use them recreationally, taking them to some local sand dunes or open fields to drive around and have fun. 

Is a UTV street legal?

Unfortunately, UTVs are rarely street legal when you buy them. Different rules apply depending on what state you’re in, with some completely banning them from the streets. Obviously, this is annoying as it means you have to transport your UTV to the off-roading location if you want to have some fun with it. 

Thankfully, it is sometimes possible to make your UTV street legal. Your best bet is to go to your local DMV or contact them online asking what you need to do to legally drive your UTV on the roads. You’ll need a license plate, but you might also need to make modifications to the vehicle – such as installing a horn. In some states, you also have to possess liability insurance. 

If you can, then it is worth making your UTV street legal as it makes life a lot easier. You can just use it to nip down to the shops instead of firing up your car, and you can drive it to the nearest dirt track or off-roading location without needing to tow it! 

Those of you that love high-octane thrills and driving around like crazy will love driving a UTV. They’re not the fastest things in the world, but they’re so fun to drive off-road. It’s worth getting one if you want a fun activity to do when you’re bored, or you want to drive around off-road without damaging your precious car. 
Also, it’s worth noting that a UTV is not the same as an ATV. An ATV is typically a quad bike with handlebars that you ride, rather than a vehicle with two seats and pedals. UTVs tend to be more robust and safer, making them the king of off-road vehicles.

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