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Snowmobile Safety
Snowmobile Safety

Snowmobiling is a fun and exciting sport the whole family can enjoy. However, winter offers certain challenges that require snowmobilers to take precautions.

Pre-ride Inspection

The performance of a pre-ride inspection is paramount to a safe, stree-free ride. Most equipment failures can be avoided by periodic maintenance and inspection. [Learn more]

Safety on Ice

The safest snowmobiling rule is never to cross lakes or rivers. Besides the danger of plunging through the ice, you have far less traction for starting, turning, and stopping on ice than on snow.

Collisions on lakes account for a significant number of accidents. Don't hold the attitude that lakes are flat, wide open areas, free of obstructions. Remember, if you can ride and turn in any direction, without boundaries, so can other riders. Therefore, the threat of a collision can come from any direction.

If you do snowmobile on the ice, make absolutely sure the ice is safely frozen. Don't trust the judgment of other snowmobilers. You are responsible for your own safety. Drowning is a leading cause of snowmobile fatalities. Know what to do if you go through the ice. [Learn more]

Safe Rider

  • Know your abilities and your snowmobile's capabilities and don't go beyond them.
  • Know your riding area. Get a map. Talk to the local snowmobilers.
  • Check local weather forecasts and plan for unexpected conditions.
  • Maintain your snowmobile in top form for a dependable ride.
  • Cross roads carefully. Come to a complete stop and make sure no traffic is approaching from any direction. Then cross at a right angle to the road.
  • Dress for changing weather conditions. Wear layers of clothing so you can add or remove clothing as needed. Always wear a helmet.
  • Plan for the unexpected by carrying a tool kit, first aid kit and survival items. Let someone know your plans so searchers will know where to look if you are lost or overdue.
  • Never ride alone. Small problems can become big problems when riding alone.
  • Check ice conditions before traveling on frozen lakes or rivers.
  • Learn to recognize avalanche areas and avoid them. Carry avalanche rescue equipment including a transceiver, probe pole and shovel, and know how to use them. Review the local avalanche advisory when available.
  • Ride sober. Alcohol increases the chance of frostbite and hypothermia, and affects the skills you need to ride safely.
  • Operate at safe speeds and be prepared to stop within your line of sight. Slow down and enjoy the ride.
  • Beware of darkness. Low light and darkness require special care. Slow down. Don't over-drive your headlights. Ask yourself, "Am I driving slow enough to see an object in time to avoid a collision?" At night on lakes and large open fields, estimating distances and direction of travel may become difficult.
  • Stay alert. Avoid focusing on the tail light of the snowmobile ahead of you; scan ahead and alongside your path of travel and those you are following. Reaction times slow when you are tired. Be aware that even though you may not feel tired, the motion, darkness, wind, and vibration of the machine may begin to dull your senses.
  • Use basic hand signals. Other snowmobilers and car drivers need to know what you're up to:
    • Left turn: left arm extended straight out
    • Right turn: left arm out, forearm raised, with elbow at 90-degree angle
    • Stop: left arm raised straight up
    • Slow: left arm out and angled toward the ground