If you ride a snowmobile, you know how fun and exciting it is. But it’s important to stay safe on your snowmobile, so remember the following hints and tips to get the most out of your snowmobile.
Check Your Ride
It’s vital to keep your snowmobile well-maintained with the best parts on the market. Before you hit the trails, check your oil and fuel, drive belts, brakes, lights, handlebars, and throttle. If you aren’t skilled in vehicle maintenance, always have a licensed professional check it over regularly.
Next, let the snowmobile warm-up for at least one minute before you take off.
It’s also wise to have your owner’s manual on the trails if a maintenance issue arises.
Take A Friend With You
Riding with a buddy is fun. And it’s safer, especially if you plan to ride trails you’ve never seen. Also, having someone with you is smart because they can assist you if there’s a breakdown. And if you get in an accident, you will have your buddy to rely on for help.
Next, tell a family member or friend where you’ll ride and the route. If you are stranded, someone will be able to find you soon.
Can’t find a friend to go with you? Take the day off and do something else. Riding alone is a serious safety risk.
Don’t Go On Frozen Lakes or Rivers
No matter how certain the ice is solid, you never know. There are many tragic stories of snowmobilers falling through the ice. Remember that your snowmobile is heavy, and the ice could easily give way.
Wear The Appropriate Gear
You should always wear a DOT-approved helmet and face mask. Also, wear several layers of clothing, so you stay dry and warm. Note that you may feel warm when sitting still. But when you’re flying at 40 MPH, you’ll feel a lot colder. So dressing appropriately is so important.
You can stay comfortable if you have a riding suit, jacket, gloves, bibs, and mittens. However, remember that if anything goes wrong, you could be stranded. So, you should dress for the weather.
Use Hand Signals
Learning and using hand signals is better than shouting over a snowmobile motor. Some hand signals you should learn are:
• Stop: Raise your left arm in the air over your head with the palm flat.
• Turn left: Put the left arm straight out, so it’s the same level as your shoulder. Your arm needs to point in the same direction as the turn you are making.
• Turn right: Put the left arm and raise it to your shoulder. Next, extend the forearm next to your head with the palm flat.
• Slow down: Put the left arm out and point down. Then, you should move your hand down in a flap-like motion towards the snowmobile.
The proper use of hand signals alerts others what you’re doing and keeps everyone safe.
Stay On The Trail
One of the most common complaints about snowmobilers is they trespass on private property. It’s vital to ride on snowmobile trails because it’s dangerous and can shut down the path.
Only snowmobile on private property when the owner says it’s ok.
Obey Snowmobiling Best Practices
You should use the same precautions of a motorcycle rider when on your snowmobile:
• Scan the whole field of vision every few seconds, so you are alerted to anything unusual
• Don’t focus your eyes on a single point as it can lead to accidents
• Anticipate hazards ahead by looking far ahead of your machine
• Be ready for an animal to dart out of the woods
• Assume other snowmobilers coming towards you won’t change course
• When in doubt, pull off the trail and stop
Snowmobilers who speed get tickets and may suffer serious injuries. Most serious snowmobile accidents happen at above 45 MPH. And recent statistics show that about 25% of those injured were speeding at the time.
So instead, ride at a moderate speed, so you have time to react if something unexpected pops up on the trail.
Keep in mind that you’re fully exposed to the elements. You could suffer a severe or fatal injury if you hit something at high speed. So, slow down.
Take A Safety Class
Many states require a valid snowmobile certificate to ride legally. However, every state has its own regulations, so check yours before riding.
A snowmobile safety class teaches you best safety practices and the rules for that state.
It’s even more important for the first-time rider to take the safety course. Your instructor will teach you how to ride safely and avoid danger on the trail, such as sharp curves, rocks, and trees.
Snowmobiling is a blast, and these simple safety tips will ensure you’ll be safe, too.