The danger of being injured while operating snowmobiles is compounded by some important factors. Snowmobiles are operated over rough terrain with obstacles that are often hidden by snow. They are operated in areas where the drivers are not familiar with paths or trails. Novices and older operators with poorer reflexes are attracted to recreational snowmobiling and these vehicles are often used very late at night, in remote areas. Another consideration regarding use of snowmobiles is that operators also combine driving with drinking and alcohol intensifies the other dangers.
Naturally there are practices that can help lower the chances of being in a serious accident. Snowmobile operators should:
- Avoid solo snowmobiling - having another person around in case of an accident is probably the greatest safety practice.
- Properly maintain the snowmobile to insure safer operation
- Dress in appropriate safety gear and clothing, including water-repellant apparel
- Operate snowmobile at speeds that are appropriate for conditions and terrain
- Do not drink alcohol while operating a snowmobile
- Use marked trails and don’t stray off of them
- Carry a first aid kit, as well as other emergency equipment, especially tools, flashlights, compass, matches, etc.
- Avoid crossing bodies of water as breaking through ice is a major peril (drowning is a chief source of snowmobile accident fatalities).