Snowmobiling in the wintertime is a ton of fun, but it also comes with high risks. You wouldn’t go on a joy ride in your car without following basic precautions and you shouldn’t be extra reckless on your snowmobile just because it’s a recreational vehicle. Follow these tips for staying safe while having fun.
1. Never ride in inclement weather.
2. Plan your trip in advance and check out all of the trails that you’ll be riding. Make sure none of them are unexpectedly closed or obstructed.
3. You should never drink alcohol before getting behind the wheel of a car and the same goes for driving a snowmobile. Like in a car, your vision, reaction time, and coordination is affected after you drink, but when you’re on a snowmobile, you also have to worry about your balance.
4. Don’t ride alone. Always go out with at least one other person who’s on their own snowmobile. If one machine dies mid-trip, you’ll have the other to ride back on or to send for help.
5. Dress accordingly. Even if you get warm while riding, you still have to be safe and bundled up. Wear a helmet, face mask, and several layers, including a snowmobile suit, gloves, and mittens on top.
6. Keep your speed down at all times, but especially at night, when you shouldn’t drive over 40 miles per hour.
7. Most snowmobile trails are two-way trails and you should stay to the right so that you don’t meet another driver head on.
8. Stick to the trail. If you veer off course, you could end up getting the trail shut down completely. You could also get lost or face unexpected issues if you go off the trail.
9. While you should avoid frozen rivers and lakes whenever possible, if you have to ride on them, make sure to put a life jacket over your regular clothing. Never ride on ice that has a moving current underneath – this ice is weak and thin, and you run the risk of breaking through.