With snow on the way, avid riders are checking their snowmobile engines and getting their machines ready to go. Whether you're an experienced snowmobiler or a first timer, it is important to review snowmobile safety.
The knowledge of a driver greatly effects the safety of the activity.
Please take the time to look over the following snowmobile safety tips.
The most important rule of all is:
DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE
Alcohol affects all of the skills needed to safely drive a snowmobile and is a contributing factor in most snowmobile related deaths.
Always be aware of your surroundings and potential danger. Use good judgement and know your machine. Helmets and the snowmobile engine can compromise your hearing and weather conditions can compromise your vision; do everything you can to ensure your safety by being a defensive driver. Expect the unexpected and especially watch for the following;
Thin ice & open water
Oncoming snowmobiles and other trail users such as hikers and skiers
Snow banks/drifting snow
Obstacles covered by snow
Bridges, road and railroad crossings
Trees and branches
Driving at Night
Visibility is greatly reduced in the dark, so SLOW DOWN! Only ride if you or another rider in your group is very familiar with the area and never ride alone. Be sure your clothing and helmet have the proper amount of reflective trim.
Riding on Ice
Avoid lakes and rivers even if you know them to be frozen. There is no guarantee with ice. If crossing is necessary, stay on the trail. Do not slow down if you are in slush and do not stop until you've reached shore. If you are ever uncertain of what the risks are, don't take them.
Always wear full snowmobiling attire, even if your destination is close by. Wearing clothing with winter technology and using layers is the easiest way to dress comfortably for winter conditions. Polypropylene and thermal are best for under layers - not cotton! Cotton can retain moisture and actually make you colder. Snowsuits should be waterproof and preferably wind resistant. Boots and gloves should also be waterproof. Always pack extras - especially hats, gloves, socks and any other items easily lots or easily soaked. Wear a helmet with a face shield to keep the cold out and your vision clear.
Do you have what you would need after a breakdown?
Double check that your snowmobile has the essentials packed;
Manufacturer tool kit
Spare belt and spark plugs
Extra wrenches, nuts & bolts (appropriately sized for your sled)
Always tell someone your plan and when you will return!
That way, if something goes wrong they will know when to worry and send help and where to look for you!