Snowmobiling has grown a lot in popularity, and naturally, that has increased the amount of snowmobile accidents over the years. Although it is a fun, exciting activity, snowmobiling can also be very dangerous without taking proper safety measures.
Here are some tips to keep you safe while you have fun snowmobiling.
1. Take a Snowmobile Safety Course.
A snowmobile safety course will inform you on how to ride safely and teach you the rules and laws in your area. Not only will you learn riding techniques to help you operate the snowmobile and avoid hazards but it will also provide you with any certifications or licenses you would need to get on the slopes. Plus the course is good practice before your trip.
2. Learn Hand Signaling.
Learning these hand signals is an important safety precaution:
- Stopping – Put your left arm straight up in the air over your head; keep your palm flat.
- Left Turn – Put your left arm straight out to the left in line with your shoulder.
- Right Turn – Bend your left arm and keep it at shoulder height with your forearm and hand pointing up.
- Slowing Down – Put your left arm out and down. Move your hand in a downward flapping motion towards your machine.
3. Check the Weather Forecast and the Trail Conditions.
It’s always good to plan ahead and check the weather and trail conditions. If the trail is frozen, the wind chill is too low, or a blizzard is in the forecast, it’s best to plan your ride for another day.
4. Inspect Your Snowmobile Before Your Ride.
Be proactive and make sure your snowmobile is running properly before heading out on the trail. Having your owner’s manual handy on your ride is a good idea for extra safety. Just like a car, it’s important to follow the recommended service schedule to keep your snowmobile well maintained. Before each ride, check fuel and oil levels, battery, brakes, drive belt, skis, throttle, handlebars, headlights and taillights. Also, give your snowmobile time to run for at least a minute or two to warm up before departing.
5. Bring a Buddy.
Riding with others is both fun and safer than riding alone. By doing so, you’ll have someone else to help you if you break down or get into an accident. It is also good to tell someone your plans and route for your ride in case you do get stranded, especially if you’re outside of cell phone reception.
6. Know How to Deal with Frozen Water
Frozen water is one of the most common reasons for snowmobile accidents. One of the leading causes of death while snowmobiling is drowning. Keep in mind that ice is never 100% safe. It’s safer always to go around it rather than over it. To stay informed for your trip specifically, ask the locals who frequently snowmobile in the area what you should avoid.
7. Use Safety Gear
Staying warm and dry during your ride will make it more enjoyable and safer. Wear a snowmobile suit and dress in layers underneath it. Avoid wearing any cotton apparel because if it gets wet, it will freeze. Polyester blends that wick moisture away from your body are best. Also, a helmet, goggles, thick, warm, non-cotton socks, waterproof gloves, a winter hat, and winter boots.
8. Bring a First-Aid Kit, Emergency Kit and Repair Kit.
In your first aid kit, items to have would be: disinfecting wipes, bandages, hand sanitizer, gauze, adhesive tape and Band-Aids.
In your emergency kit, items to consider are: waterproof matches, a flashlight, a compass, a map and/or GPS, a small shovel, flares, an ice pick, a blanket, water, snacks and a knife.
In your repair kit include: duct tape, tools, a spare belt, a tow rope, spark plugs and a pry bar.
9. Stay On the Trail.
Marked trails are safest because they have been prepared for you and are less likely to have hazards. Going off trail can result in accidents since you will be in unfamiliar terrain.
10. Practice Proper Riding Precautions
Scan your entire field of vision often and identify potential hazards in advance. It is important to be observant and watch for obstacles in your path, such as rocks, fallen trees, barbed wire fences, ditches, open water, other snowmobiles, snow banks, ice, animals, hikers and skiers. Stay alert and expect the worst at all times. Driving at a moderate pace will allow you to react to an unexpected occurrence on your trail and avoid an accident where you hurt yourself or someone else. Many trails have posted speed limits to follow. Never leave any trash in the trails or surrounding environment and respect the wildlife allowing you to ride through their homes.
If you wouldn’t drive a car without insurance, don’t ride a snowmobile without the right Snowmobile Insurance!
Here at Lantz Family Insurance Agency we are committed to providing our clients with quality insurance and superior customer service – including when disaster strikes. Should the need arise to file a claim, we’re ready to assist you in any way we can. Call us for a FREE, No Obligation Quote at 774-992-0789 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peter C. Lantz (Pete) has been a Licensed Insurance Agent in Massachusetts for more than 10 years. He has worked for Arbor Insurance Brokerage, Inc. and USA Wealth Group, Inc. as an Insurance Broker and Financial Advisor. Pete has served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. Pete has his Real Estate Brokers’ License, as well as Life and Health Insurance Licenses.