For snowmobile enthusiasts, meanwhile, the fun is just getting started. But, as every seasoned veteran knows, operating a snowmobile is more than filling up the gas tank, squeegeeing off the windshield and taking off into the Canadian wilderness.
If you are going out on a snowmobile for the first time this winter, take a moment to take in these quick snowmobiling safety tips for beginners.
1. Dress Warmly
Before you even sit on a snowmobile, you should ensure you are prepared for the elements. Even if the temperature outside is hovering close to zero and the sun is shining, things can feel much cooler when you are out in the open riding at high speeds. Being frostbitten or developing hyperthermia far from home can not only be uncomfortable, but can be dangerous.
Tip: in case conditions change, for better or worse, try dressing in layers. This way you can zip up, zip down or even remove clothing as you see fit. Start with a base layer of long underwear and work your way up.
2. Know your positioning
The first safety tip to riding a snowmobile is to learn the basics about proper positioning. Whether knowing to lean forward when ascending a hill or knowing not to break hard on a descent, there are a variety of basic snowmobile positions you should know. Ask a seasoned rider to show you some of these positions before you set out.
In addition to knowing how to sit on a snowmobile, be sure to learn how to get off. From rolling the vehicle to falling through thin ice, ask a seasoned rider how to save yourself from possible life-threatening injuries or situations.
3. Avoid riding alone
Whether a sudden weather change, mechanical problems, an accident or all of the above, there are a whole variety of treacherous situations to keep in mind when setting out into the woods. While going with a partner does not remove the risk, at least you can have peace of mind knowing someone is watching your back. If you do need to set out on a snowmobile by yourself, alert others of your route and carry a fully charged cellphone with you.
Tip: if reception is unpredictable in your area, carry a satellite GPS messenger beacon to alert others to your position or to send out an SOS in the event of an emergency.
4. Exercise extra caution at night
While a good snowmobile is equipped with proper lights and signals, riding at night carries more risk. From not being able to gage frozen ice to not being prepared for obstructions in the dark, there are many things to keep an eye out for. Like driving any vehicle, the best advice for nighttime snowmobiling is to slow down and exercise extra caution.
Since accidents do happen, it is always a good idea to make sure you are properly insured before setting out on your snowmobile. Check out these preferred rates and exceptional service offered by Desjardins Insurance for your vehicle. Do not leave anything to chance!
5. Never drink and ride
This one goes without saying. Not only does drinking impair your judgement and reaction time, but it is also illegal and carries life-altering consequences for those involved. Just don’t do it.
So you’re ready to ride. Now what?
For more information regarding some sweet trails to check out, consult our ‘Top 5 Ontario Snowmobile Trails and Trips.’
Be safe and have fun!