Snowmobile Safety

Enjoying your snowmobile this season? 10 tips that will help keep you safe on the trail.

Tip 10: Beware of water. Drowning is a leading cause of snowmobile fatalities. Never cross over a frozen lake, pond or stream. You run the risk of breaking through the ice, and starting, stopping and turning are more difficult due to less traction.

Tip 9: Slow down at night. At night your visibility is limited to the distance of your headlight. The slower you go, the more room you have to stop. Also avoid riding along road shoulders where your headlight, and those of street traffic, could cause confusion.

Tip 8: Take care crossing roads. When crossing roads, make sure you stop completely and that no traffic is approaching from any direction. Remember basic hand signals when you are turning.

Tip 7: Take a friend. Don’t snowmobile alone. It’s more fun – and safer – to ride with a friend along.

Tip 6: Check it out. Make sure your snowmobile is running properly before riding. Review your owner’s manual and follow the recommended service schedule. Be sure an authorized service provider makes all repairs.

Tip 5: Maintain control and stay sharp. Keep your speed right for the conditions and your experience. Be aware of current terrain, visibility and weather conditions, and potential hazards and obstacles.

Tip 4: Tread lightly. Respect nature and ride only in areas where it’s permitted. Wait for enough snow to cover vegetation so you don’t destroy it, avoid running over trees and shrubs and don’t disturb wildlife around you.

Tip 3: Think ahead. Always carry your owner’s manual, an extra belt, extra spark plugs, a tow rope, a small tool kit, spare parts, a flashlight, a first-aid kit and survival items such as a space blanket, waterproof matches and a compass.

Tip 2: Gear up. For optimum protection, always wear protective gear such as a safety-certified helmet, warm gloves, a windproof outer layer and boots.

Tip 1: Know the law. Check with local DNR, law enforcement agencies, dealers and clubs to make sure you follow all the rules where you are riding.