BE A DEFENSIVE DRIVER
NEVER DRINK AND RIDE
Always be alert of potential danger.
Your helmet and engine noise can impair your hearing.
Visibility is also reduced in conditions of snowfall, blowing snow and night driving.
Never assume what another snowmobiler will do.
Do all that you can to ensure your safety and that of other riders.
Expect the unexpected!
Watch out for:
• Thin ice and open water
• Grooming equipment
• Oncoming snowmobiles
• Unforeseen obstacles beneath snow
• Unexpected corners, intersections and stops
• Road and railway crossings
• Logging/Forestry operations
• Snow banks and drifting snow
• Trees and branches on the trail
• Bridges and approaches
• Wildlife and domestic animals
• Other trail users (skiers, hikers)
If you dress properly with high tech winter wear and proper layering, winter comfort is easy. Start with polypropylene and thermal under layers that release moisture while retaining heat. Add other heat retentive layers depending on the temperature. Also consider the fact that your forward motion will add to the wind chill factor. Avoid cottons and sweatshirts that retain moisture. Try to find suits that are water and wind proof. Carry extra clothing, socks, and mitts for layering. A helmet and face shield combat cold and hazards, while waterproof insulated boots and leather snowmobile mitts provide warmth and protection.
Snowmobiling requires alertness, caution, and attention. Your reaction time and ability to control your sled can be drastically affected after consuming even small amounts of alcohol. Alcohol can affect perception, reaction time, and response to unexpected situations.
Drowning is one of the leading causes of snowmobile fatalities. Wherever possible, avoid riding on frozen lakes and rivers because ice conditions are never guaranteed. Ice conditions can change in a period of several hours. If you must cross ice, 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 help you reach the closest ice surface. Also consider carrying a set of picks that 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:
• Kick vigorously into a horizontal position and swim to the nearest ice edge. Place hands/arms on unbroken ice while kicking hard to propel your body onto the ice, like a seal.
• Once clear, stay flat and roll away to stronger ice.
• Stand, keep moving and find shelter fast.
NOTIFY RELIABLE PERSON(S)
Before you begin your trip, make sure someone knows where you plan to go, with whom you are going, when you are leaving and when you will return. If the trip involves an overnight stay, include information on where you will stay and contact numbers. This is most important since time becomes critical if you experience an accident or an emergency. It is strongly recommended that you should never snowmobile alone
– always ride with a buddy.