Snowmobiling is a thrilling and enjoyable wintertime pastime. It’s a fantastic way of satisfying your need for speed while also enjoying the outdoor space and the beauty of nature. However, if proper safety precautions are not taken, it can be extremely dangerous.
Many people are seriously injured every year, and some lives are taken while snowmobiling. A list of vital snowmobile safety tips has been compiled to help you avoid serious injuries and ensure your safety. Whether you’re a first-time rider or a trained pro, these safety tips can help keep you safe and make your ride an enjoyable experience.
Learn about your state’s laws and regulations first.
Although you might think that you can simply hop on a snowmobile and ride away, that is not the case. Several states have laws and regulations that must be followed. For example, a specific state may have an age limit for children, or one may be required to register their snowmobile and purchase a trail pass.
Furthermore, just like on our roads, there are specific laws and signages that one should be aware of and follow when riding on the pathways.
Attend a snowmobile safety course.
Taking a snowmobile safety course is one of the best ways to learn the laws in your area and make sure you’re ready to ride. These classes will train you with everything that you need to know as well as the state regulations. This safety training will also provide you with any necessary certifications or licenses to jump on the slopes. Fully understanding the snowmobile safety rules ahead of time allows you to practice before your ride. It’s better to over-prepare than to end up getting injured.
A snowmobile is just about as safe as the driver, and the core to safe operation is familiarity with the machine, sound judgment, and consideration for other snowmobilers. Here are six safety tips to keep in mind while snowmobiling:
1. Be a cautious driver.
Always be on the lookout for potential hazards. Hearing loss can occur as a result of your helmet and engine noise. Visibility is also reduced when there is snowfall, blowing snow, or driving at night. Never make presumptions about what another snowmobiler will do. Make every effort to ensure your own and other riders’ safety. Be prepared for the unanticipated events.
Keep an eye out for:
● Open water and thin ice
● Grooming supplies
● Approaching snowmobiles
● Unexpected obstacles beneath the snow
● Surprising corners, intersections, and stops
● Crossing roads and railways
● Forestry and logging operations
● Snowdrifts and snow banks
● Trees and branches on the rail trail
● Bridges and access points
● Domestic and wild animals
● Additional trail users (skiers, hikers)
2. Wear appropriate protective garments.
Winter comfort is simple if you dress appropriately with high-tech winter clothing and proper layering. Begin with polypropylene and thermal under layers that allow moisture to escape while maintaining the temperature. Depending on the weather, add additional heat-retentive layers. Consider how your forward motion will increase the wind chill factor. Cotton and sweatshirts that retain moisture should be avoided. Look for suits that are water and wind-resistant. Carry extra clothing, socks, and mitts in case you need to layer. A helmet and face shield may keep you warm and safe from hazardous elements, while waterproof insulated boots and leather snowmobile mitts protect and warm you up.
3. Prepare and bring a repair kit with you.
Snowmobiling can easily take you beyond the reach of immediate help; that’s why basic repair kits are essential.
The kit must include:
● an extra belt
● extra spark plugs
● the manufacturer’s toolbox
● extra sled-specific wrenches, nuts, and bolts
● a towing rope
● pry tool
● adhesive duct tape
● jackknife made of wire
4. Before going out on the snowmobile, make sure it’s in good working order.
Before you hit the trail, make sure your snowmobile is in proper working order. It’s important to keep your owner’s manual handy on your ride for additional security. It is critical to adhere to the recommended service schedule in order to keep it maintained and fully functioning. Before each ride, check the fuel and oil levels, battery, brakes, drive belts, skis, throttle, handlebars, headlights, and taillights. Moreover, allow your snowmobile to run for at least a minute to warm up before taking off.
5. Make use of appropriate hand signals.
Other riders must be aware of what you’re thinking and where you intend to go. Here are some hand signals to keep in mind.
● Stop: Raise your left arm straight up, palm open.
● Left turn: Raise your left arm, extend it straight out from your body, and point in the direction of the turn.
● Right turn: Raise your left arm and hold it straight out from your body. Then, with an open palm, bend your arm upward at the elbow to form a 90-degree angle.
● Slow down: Raise your left arm, point, then move it in a downward direction.
6. Maintain your position on the trail.
Trails that have been marked are safer because they have been properly prepared for snowmobile riders and are less likely to have hazards. Going off-trail can lead to an accident because you’re in an unfamiliar environment. Besides that, many public trails run alongside the private property. Stay on the marked trail unless you have permission from the landowner. If this is not done, the trial may be closed to the public in the future. Ride responsibly by adhering to the posted signs and trail markers.
Additional safety reminders and guidelines.
Fractures, lacerations and contusions, concussions, and drowning are all common snowmobiling injuries. Here are a few pieces of advice to help you avoid these injuries:
● Ensure a stable speed to avoid losing control and colliding with a tree or other objects, as well as to keep you or your passenger from falling off.
● Avoid driving on lakes and rivers. The thickness of the ice can change rapidly. Once you’ve fallen in, it’s extremely difficult to get out.
● When loading and unloading a snowmobile, use extreme caution.
● Don’t drive recklessly. Avoid driving when drunk.
If you break through the ice, don’t freak out. Follow these self-rescue guidelines:
● Kick forcefully into a horizontal position and swim to the closest ice edge. Put your hands/arms on unbroken ice and kick hard to propel your body onto the ice as if you were a seal.
● When you’re clear, stay flat and roll away to stronger ice.
● Get up, move around, and find a safe place as soon as possible.
Snowmobiling is surely fun. Yet, it is still a dangerous sport or hobby that can go wrong anytime if safety is not observed. This is why Rocky Mountain Snowmobile caters to snowmobiling enthusiasts by providing a wide variety of options for their safety gear.