Happy International Snowmobile Safety Week! Here are a few tips on how to stay safe during your snow-filled adventures this winter.
To avoid a collision or injury, the most important thing you can do while on snowmobile is to pay attention. Be alert and aware of your surroundings; watch for trees, rocks, animals and other people on the trail. When you’re having so much fun, it can be easy to forget just how long you’ve been riding. Remember, the longer you ride, the slower your reaction time. Take breaks every few hours to stay safe!
Lots of people like to dress to impress -- but frostbite won't impress anyone. Be sure to wear clothing and gear (gloves, goggles & a windproof outer layer) that will protect you from the bitter cold. Helmets are also a good idea.
The buddy system is one of the best ways to stay safe when snowmobiling. If one of you gets into trouble, the other will be able to go for help. But if you do ride alone, always have a plan and let someone know before you go. And always bring a cell phone.
Snowmobiling is a community activity. As a snowmobiler, you have a responsibility to ride in a manner that is both legal and respectful towards your fellow riders and the environment. Always:
Of all snowmobile-related fatalities in MN last winter, 30% occurred on a frozen lake or river. Since there’s no way to know for sure if the ice is safe, you need to exercise extreme caution when riding on lakes or frozen waterways. Snowmobiles need a minimum of 5 inches of clear solid ice.
Check with a trusted local source (a bait shop or the police station, for example) before heading out and double check the ice yourself when you get there. And when in doubt, stay off the ice – better to be safe than wet and frozen!
Alcohol increase sleepiness, slows reaction time and affects vision, balance and coordination. Mixing snowmobiles and booze is a recipe for disaster. Did we mention it’s illegal too? That glass of spiked cider will be waiting for you when you get back to the lodge!
Enjoy the snow and ride safe!
International Snowmobile Safety Week runs January 13th through 19th, 2013.