Wisconsin has long maintained that it’s the birthplace of snowmobiling. We know how popular this motor sport is as more than 200,000 registered snowmobiles each winter ride the state’s 25,000 miles of trails. Even though another mild winter has led to a number of Wisconsin’s trails being closed this year, it is still snowmobile season.
Safety is key to enjoying a good ride on the trail with friends, and we always recommend taking a snowmobile safety course. Speed and alcohol are two of the biggest contributors to snowmobile accidents with injuries or fatalities.
Alcohol and snowmobiling are a potential fatal combination. Don’t drink before or during your trips. So far in the 2017-18 Wisconsin snowmobile season, five fatalities related to four accidents have occurred. Alcohol was a contributing factor in three of the four accidents.
Basic snowmobiling safety tips
Here are some basic safety tips when traveling on a snowmobile:
- Check weather conditions.
- Slow down. Speed – like alcohol – is often a contributing factor in most fatal accidents. Obey the speed limit.
- Dress appropriately. Wear the right clothing for warmth and protection. Always wear a helmet with goggles or face shield. Wear layers of water-repellent clothing, and make sure of no loose clothing, which can get tangled up in your machine.
- Carry a first-aid kit. It should include a flashlight, knife, compass, map and waterproof matches
- Be cautious when traveling on frozen lakes. Don’t travel across bodies of water when uncertain of ice thickness. Wear a life jacket if riding on frozen bodies of water.
- Stop at road and railroad crossings.
- Respect “No Trespassing” signs.
- Remain on marked trails: Some trails are shared by skiers and hikers, so be on the lookout for them. Also be alert to fences or tree stumps that may be covered with snow.
- Keep headlights and taillights on.
- Don’t travel alone
Enjoy the snowmobiling season. Before you know it, spring will be here. While you’re riding along Wisconsin’s trails, stay safe.