There are approximately 13,000 reported injuries due to snowmobile accidents in the United States each year. Additionally, there are over 100 deaths due to snowmobile crashes each year. Some deaths are the result of the operator being pinned under the vehicle, and over two-fifths of reported deaths are the result of collisions with trees, other vehicles, bridges, and wires. There are also deaths reported that are caused by the vehicle entering water or falling through ice. Here are some tips that will help ensure your safety while operating a snowmobile:
Never ride a snowmobile alone or across unfamiliar territory. Having a partner will provide an extra measure of safety in the event of a breakdown or accident.
Ride only on established trails and clearly marked areas. Avoid water and frozen lakes. It is impossible to judge the thickness or depth of ice.
Watch the trail in front of you very closely. There could be hidden rocks, barbed wire, or other obstacles in your path. You should avoid operating a snowmobile in bad weather. Check for warnings regarding snowstorms and rain before starting.
Always slow down at the top of a hill or snow bank. There could be an unexpected hazard on the other side. Also, do not attempt to jump or hurdle snow banks. You will only have control of your snowmobile when the skis are firmly on the ground.
Take the time to learn the snowmobile laws and regulations for the area you are in. Each state has its own requirements and rules in regard to snowmobiles. Use common sense when approaching roads or railroad tracks. Make sure you signal each turn you make and watch for other vehicles. Control your speed according the conditions in which you are riding.
Use extra caution if you are operating a snowmobile at night. Unseen obstacles can be potentially fatal. Drive only as fast as your headlights will allow you to see safely. Never attempt to navigate new trails at night.
Do not operate a snowmobile while drinking. Numerous accidents occur each year to due driving a snowmobile after consuming alcohol. Make sure the vehicle you are driving has been properly maintained and is in good operating condition. Snowmobiling can be exciting and very safe if you observe the proper precautions and use common sense while riding.