What most people refer to when they talk about the visor on an ATV and motocross off-road helmet is the plastic brim located over the googles, known as a shield. In fact, ATV and motocross helmets don't have visors, they have a shield. A viewfinder is a face-through shield that you'll find in a typical motorcycle helmet.
Anyone who has ever been in an ATV or a motocross race will be able to tell you the primary purpose of having a shield on your helmet. The shield is essential if you don't get a holeshot through the first corner, because you'll need it to protect your face and goggles from the roost thrown by the rider or riders in front of you. It will protect your face from dangerous flying rocks and help keep your goggles clean. Without the shield, your googles would be stuffed with mud in no time at all.
The key to successfully using the shield as a deflector is to adjust the shield as far down as possible. You have to tilt your head down just before you hit the branch. You will feel and hear when the branch clears your helmet so that you can lift your head again safely. If you don't tilt your head forward, you'll be able to catch the top to the branch. shields are designed to break easily, so catching a branch should not pose a risk to the rider. However, getting your face stuffed with debris can be a bit of an annoyance.
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