I have yet to ride a snowmobile myself, but I can understand the attraction. Sadly, every year in Ontario, the number of snowmobile accidents is staggering. Winter is certainly upon us and I thought after this week’s big chill, it might be a time where more riders are out on their vehicles ( yes, a snowmobile is a motor vehicle) and thought I’d share some very obvious basic safety tips that simply serve as a reminder to everyone out there heading out on their sleds.
Snowmobiling in Ontario:
If you plan on riding across Ontario lakes or Ontario rivers, investigate the conditions before you go and cross only by following marked stake lines. For your safety, follow these safety tips:
- Wear a bright, buoyant snowmobile suit.
- Carry ice picks at all times.
- If your snowmobile breaks the ice:
- Place hands/arms on unbroken ice while kicking hard to propel your body as far as you can onto the ice, like a seal.
- Kick vigorously into a horizontal position and swim to the nearest ice edge.
- Once clear, stay flat and roll away to stronger ice.
- Quickly replace wet clothes, keep moving to generate body heat, and find immediate shelter and warmth if possible.
Avoiding Snowmobile Accidents at Night:
9/10 snowmobile fatalities, occur after dark. Slow down, don’t overdrive your headlights. Becoming disoriented or lost is much more likely to happen at night. Wear bright outer clothing with reflective trim on the arms, back and helmet. Never ride your snowmobile alone at night. Always dress in your full reflective snowmobiling outfit even if your intending to just go next-door. You never know….
Avoid Alcohol= Avoiding Snowmobile Accidents- Sadly, alcohol is involved in over 70% of snowmobiling accidents that tragically end in death. Any amount of alcohol can impair your perception, slow your reaction time and limit your ability to control your sled at a critical moment. Operating your snowmobile while under the influence of alcohol is punishable under the Criminal Code of Canada. If convicted of driving a snowmobile while impaired, you will lose all driving privileges (car, truck, motorcycle, off-road vehicles and snowmobile). In other words, if you drink and drive your snowmobile, both your driver’s license and insurance are at risk.
Reduce the Chances of a snowmobile accident by driving defensively.
Engine noise and your helmet may impair your hearing, so be extra alert for danger. You can only control your snowmobile driving, not how others drive. Your safety is in your own hands, so watch out for a variety of conditions, including:
- Oncoming sleds
- Obstacles hidden by the snow
- Trees and branches on the trail
- Slow grooming equipment
- Bridges, open water and
- Other trail users (skiers, walkers)
- Unexpected corners, intersections and stops
- Trail wash outs and flooding
- unsafe ice
- Snow banks and moguls
- Road and railway crossings
- Logging operations
Get out there and enjoy this beautiful, cold winter we are having….but please be safe. Before you hop on your snowmobile, take a few seconds to prepare yourself in the event of a snowmobile accident. Should you be involved in an Ontario snowmobile accident, know that there are accident benefits to which you are entitled to through your car insurance. Contact an Ontario personal injury lawyer to find out how best to maximize your compensation.
- Source: Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs