Snowmobiling is a fun and exciting way to enjoy the outdoors in the wintertime; but like any other outdoor activity, it is important to keep safety in mind. Follow these snowmobiling safety tips to help make the experience and memories truly enjoyable.
- Dress for the Weather & Wear a Helmet. Wear appropriate winter outerwear and dress in layers underneath to stay warm. For your safety, wear a DOT-approved snowmobile helmet, preferably with a full-face shield.
- Plan Ahead and Know the Trails. Check the weather before you head out and research the trail conditions. It is always best to ride with a companion and tell someone about your travel plans.
- Know and Follow the Laws. Be aware of and follow state and local snowmobiling laws and regulations. Never consume alcohol and operate a snowmobile. Respect trail groomers and only pass with extreme care. Many states offer a snowmobile safety course, this is a great way to learn best practices.
- Do Not Speed. Follow trail speed limits and decrease speed in inclement conditions or when approaching other rides. If there is no posted speed limit, keep your speed reasonable for the trail type and conditions.
- Stay on Marked Trails. Stay on marked and groomed trails to help prevent getting lost, stuck, or possibly injured by traveling on unsafe terrain.
- Avoid Water Hazards and Thin Ice. Know the ice conditions of lakes and ponds before riding on them. The ice should be at least 6 inches thick before attempting to ride on. Avoid riding on bodies of moving water such as rivers, as they can freeze and thaw more unpredictably than ponds and lakes.
- Prepare for Emergencies. Always keep a first aid kit and emergency items with you such as a flashlight, map, food, water, blankets, knife, fire starting device, basic tools, tow rope, etc.
- Stay Alert. Watch for obstacles in the trails such as downed trees, animals, or others enjoying the outdoors on the snowmobile trails. Maintaining a moderate speed will help give you time to react to any unexpected obstacles in the trails. Pay attention to caution signs, especially those indicating an upcoming road crossing. Always be prepared to stop and check for traffic prior to crossing a road.