If you’re a proud snowmobile owner, winter is probably a season you look forward to every year. Riding on freshly fallen snow is a thrill for many and spending time outdoors with family and friends is a must this time of year.
However, before you hit the trails on your snowmobile, take these tips into consideration to keep yourself and your family safe.
Even if you’re a veteraned snowmobile rider, anything can happen while riding on a trail. First, and foremost make sure you’re wearing proper gear that not only protects you from the elements outdoors, but can protect you from sustaining major injuries. There is a variety of protective gear you can purchase and wear such as, helmets, knee guards, and even chest protectors.
Additionally, consider bringing a backpack with a first-aid kit, flash light, collapsible shovel, and small tool or repair kit. In the event your snowmobile gets stuck or you sustain a minor injury, these can come in handy.
Make sure you have a preparation plan in place before you head out. First, let a friend, family member, or neighbor know where you’re going, who you’re going with, and what time you plan to be back. This way if you or your party aren’t back, they can alert authorities that something serious may have happened.
Next, always check the weather before you head out. It may look bright and sunny, but weather can change in an instant. Additionally, if you get stuck in something like a blizzard, conditions can become dangerous and difficult to navigate in. Therefore, plan accordingly- don’t stay out if a snowstorm is coming.
Finally, make sure you study the trail map or bring a copy with you. This is important in case you get lost or need to understand your surroundings. Snow covered areas can be deceiving because one wrong turn can land you into a frozen lake. Moreover, the minute the ice becomes unstable you and your snowmobile could become submerged in the water.
Additionally, mountainous regions can be even more dangerous, so make sure you understand the trail heads and what to do in the event of an avalanche.
Understand State Regulations
Laws and regulations regarding snowmobile use vary from state to state. However, in the state of Connecticut, all snowmobiles must be registered and have plates on them when on public or state owned property- this typically includes state forests that allow snowmobile use. Many of these state forests prohibit snowmobiles on certain trails and have regulated speed limits. So, make sure to abide by all rules when utilizing your snowmobile. This way you and other riders can stay safe and enjoy the thrills of riding.
Check with your insurance agent to make sure you have proper snowmobile insurance. Whether you plan to ride on public or private property, snowmobile insurance covers you in the event of a serious accident or damage caused by snowmobiling.
If you hit a tree, crash into another driver, or run over an unsuspecting rock you could be at a major loss. The expenses to fix your snowmobile or pay for medical bills can seriously add up. However, with snowmobile insurance, you’re covered
Snowmobile insurance really isn’t something you should ride without.
Snowmobiles, just like any other type of machine require maintenance, and it’s a good idea to keep yours properly maintained all winter long. Not only will regular maintenance keep your snowmobile running at its peak performance, but it can protect you in the long run. If your snowmobile breaks down, you may get stuck far away from help. So, before you have your snowmobile touch fresh power this year make sure to:
1. Warm up the engine– it’s cold outside and this can cause the engine to seize or lock up. So, take a few minutes to let your engine idle before you go.
2. Use the correct oil– this is important because not only does this allow the engine to run efficiently, but oil for snowmobiles is created for extremely cold conditions. Therefore, typical car oil won’t do.
3. Keep it clean– after a long trail run, take the time to clean off your snowmobile when it’s back home. This prevents corrosion and rust from deteriorating your ride in the long run.
4. Perform “check ups”– check to make sure everything is in working order. Everything should be in place and in working order, check the whole machine before you take it on the first ride of the season. Check for cosmetic wear too because cracks, scratches, and warping can become more serious if ignored.
You’ve invested a lot into your snowmobile and if you only get to enjoy it for a short period of time, put in the efforts to keep it going for years to come.
So, have fun and stay safe this year with these snowmobile safety tips. Do you plan to go snowmobiling this year? If so, where? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!