As another snowmobile season gets underway in some parts of the northern United States and Canada, state Department of Natural Resources are encouraging snowmobilers to get this season off to a smooth, safe start.
Check on trail conditions with your local DNR. Also, check your state DNR for regulations on whether a snowmobile safety training course is needed to legally ride a snowmobile.
The Minnesota DNR notes that snowmobilers should follow these safety tips:
Watch The Weather And Check Trail Conditions Before Riding
Don’t ride in adverse weather conditions. Plan your trip and check the trails you’ll be riding prior to departure. Check trail conditions and trail maps.
Don’t Drink Alcohol And Ride
Alcohol is a factor in over 70 percent of all fatal accidents in Minnesota, as well as many non-deadly snowmobile accidents. Alcohol and drugs have a negative effect on the driver’s vision, balance, coordination, and reaction time. Don’t ride with people who drink and ride! Minnesota is part of a larger coalition of snowmobiling states that support ‘Zero Alcohol’ consumption before or during your ride.
Never Ride Alone
Always ride with a friend on another snowmobile. This way if one machine is disabled, you have another to get help.
Dress For Safety & Survival
Always wear a quality DOT helmet and facemask. Wear layers of clothing to keep warm and dry. Snowmobile suits, bibs, jackets, gloves and mittens should cut the wind, repel water and keep you ventilated.
Excessive speed is a major factor in many accidents, especially at night. To help avoid accidents, keep your night time speed under 40 mph.
Stay to The Right
Almost every trail is a “two way” trail. So stay to the far right of the trail, especially on hills and corners. Obey all trail signs and cross roadways with extreme caution.
Stay on The Trail or Stay Home
Trespassing is a major complaint about snowmobilers and can result in trail closure. Always stay on designated snowmobile trails. Venturing off of trails can result in accidents. Only ride private property when you have landowner’s permission.
Riding on Ice, Lakes & Rivers
It is safest to avoid riding on lakes and rivers. If you must ride on ice, wear a life jacket over your outer clothing. Stay on the marked trail and stay off of ice that has moving water (current) near or under it – ice in these areas may be thin
Be safe this snowmobiling season!
New to snowmobiling and not sure where to ride? Check this link in Guide Outdoors to Snowmobile trails around the United States and Canada!
Shop Sportsman’s Guide for a great selection of Snowmobile Clothing!