Drowning is one of the leading causes of snowmobile
fatalities. Wherever possible, avoid riding on frozen lakes and rivers because
ice conditions are never a safe bet. Ice conditions can change in a period of
several hours If you must cross ice, ask first, then stay on the packed or
marked trail. Don't stop until you reach shore. If you hit slush, don't let off
the throttle. If you are following someone who hits slush, veer off to make your
own path. If you must travel over lakes and rivers then consider using a buoyant
snowmobile suit which will assist you to reach the closest ice surface. Also
consider carrying a set of picks which will help you grip the edge of the ice
more easily As a rule of thumb, "If you don't know, don't go."
If you do break through the ice, don't panic.
Follow these self rescue tips:
1.) Kick vigorously into a horizontal position and swim to the nearest ice edge.
2.) Place hands/arms on unbroken ice while kicking hard to propel your body onto the ice, like a seal.
3.) Once clear, stay flat and roll away to stronger ice
4.) Stand, keep moving and find shelter fast.
A disproportionate number of snowmobiling incidents,
including nine out of ten fatalities, occur after dark. Most often night riding
also includes alcohol consumption and excessive speed.
Forward visibility is reduced by darkness and it is much more difficult to spot and identify potential hazards in time. Overdriving headlights can also be a serious problem, so slow down when snowmobiling after dark. Becoming disoriented or lost is much more likely at night.
Always wear outer clothing with reflective trim on the arms, back and helmet. Never ride alone at night. Always dress in your full snowmobiling outfit even if your intended destination is just next door.
Engine noise and your helmet may impair your hearing, so
be extra alert for danger. Never assume what another snowmobiler will do. Your
safety is in your hands, so watch out for:
1.) Obstacles hidden by the snow
2.) Trees and branches on the trail
3.) Slow grooming equipment
4.) Oncoming sleds
5.) Other trail users ( skiers, walkers, )
7.) Snow banks and moguls
8.) Road and railway crossings
9.) Unexpected corners, intersections and stops
10.) Bridges, open water and unsafe ice
You can easily snowmobile beyond immediate help, so
basic repair and survival kits, expandable for longer tours are essential.
The Repair Kit should contain:
1.) Spare belt
2.) Spare spark plugs
3.) Manufacturer's tool kit
4.) Extra wrenches
5.) Nuts & bolts sized for your sled
6.) Tow rope
7.) Pry bar
8.) Extra ignition key
9.) Work gloves
10.) Duct tape
This is the lowering of the body's core temperature. It can happen in water or on land. Hypothermia does not require extreme cold and accelerates with wind and wetness. Dressing warmly in water resistant layers helps, but if immersed, quickly replace wet clothes, keep moving to generate body heat, and find immediate shelter and warmth.
This occurs when direct and reflecting sun glare are too bright for the eyes. Riding without good quality, UV protected sunglasses can cause permanent damage.
Frostbite results from freezing temperatures and poor circulation. Most common on extremities and exposed skin, it can be identified by unnaturally white and numb skin surrounded by harsh red coloring. Cover up and layer well, making sure that socks fit loosely within your boots. And remember mitts with liners are warmer than gloves.
Wind chill is lower temperature caused by wind and/or the forward momentum of a fast moving sled. Wind chill exposes you to severe cold which in turn can cause hypothermia. Wind-proof outer garments, extra layers and a balaclava will offer some protection, but keep your face shield down to prevent wind burn and to protect your skin and eyes.
Dont Drink and Ride
Snowmobiling requires constant care, caution and attention. Don't
drink and ride. Even small amounts of alcohol can impair your perception, slow
your reaction time and limit your ability to control your sled at that critical
moment when your life is in the balance. Alcohol is involved in over 70% of
Moreover, snowmobiling often takes you to remote areas miles from help, increasing your risk of permanent injury or death after an accident. And contrary to popular opinion, alcohol increases your susceptibility to cold & hypothermia. This will decrease your chances of survival if you have to wait long for help to arrive.
Finally, operating your sled under the influence of alcohol is punishable under the laws in many states. If convicted of driving a snowmobile while impaired, you will lose all driving privileges (car, truck, motorcycle, off-road vehicles and snowmobile) Therefore if you drink and ride both your driver's license and insurability are at risk.
Keep your wits about you. Don't Drink and Ride
1.) Stay on trails
2.) Avoid riding late at night too close to homes
3.) Be polite and respectful of landowners and their families
4.) Obey the speed limit
5.) Leave private property when asked to do so
6.) Help preserve small shrubs and saplings
7.) Refrain from obnoxious or boisterous behavior
8.) Leave tracks not trash
9.) Obtain permission before camping, setting a fire or having cookout along the trail