Snowmobiling is a popular winter activity in many northern communities around the world.
It’s a great way to get outside and enjoy beautiful snow-covered landscapes. This year, International Snowmobile Safety Week takes place from January 15 to 23, and it’s the perfect time to highlight the importance of safe snowmobiling practices.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind this winter:
1. Never ride a snowmobile under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You should also avoid hitting the trails if you’re tired. Doing so can slow your reaction time and affect your ability to make good decisions.
2. Always pack emergency supplies. You should have a cellphone, a flashlight, waterproof matches, a survival blanket, hand warmers, non-perishable foods, a rope, a spare drive belt, flares, a whistle and a first-aid kit.
3. Check the weather forecast, trail conditions and opening hours of the businesses and shelters you plan to visit before you leave.
4. Always ride with someone else, and let your friends and family know where you’re headed and your estimated time of return.
5. Avoid crossing large bodies of water where there are no marked trails. It’s almost impossible to assess the thickness of ice at a glance.
6. Follow other snowmobilers at a safe distance, keep to the right, stay on marked trails and stop at all road crossings.
7. Avoid stopping in the middle of a trail, on a curve or on a downhill slope to avoid blocking traffic and to ensure you’re visible to other riders.
For more safety tips, visit snowmobile.org.