While snowmobiles provide an excellent way to incorporate more outdoor winter leisure into your life, they are also motor vehicles, and as such, they need to be operated with care. Snowmobiles may be one of the most enjoyable motor vehicles to operate, but they also require precautions to ensure that you stay safe while using one.
The outset of winter is the perfect opportunity to review a checklist of snowmobile safety because it gives you a chance to review your awareness of safe practices and perform any maintenance tasks that your vehicle may require before hitting the snow. You may be eager to get yourself a new Yamaha snowmobile this year, but it is also vital that you know how to avoid risks before heading out.
Dress in Appropriate Clothing
Moving at fast speeds outdoors will increase the threat of cold temperatures, and you don’t want to wait until you’ve already travelled a long distance before you realize that you didn’t wear clothing that is suitably warm. Some essential items will include:
- Warm Winter Boots
- Waterproof Gloves
- Thermal Socks
- Winter Hat
Remember, some fabrics will freeze even if it is only sweat that causes them to get wet, so ensure that none of your clothing is made of cotton or any material that is prone to freezing. Instead, choose synthetic materials that are waterproof.
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Alongside clothing that is designed to protect you from the cold, you need to wear gear that will protect your body from damage as well. It is critical that you never operate a snowmobile without wearing a Department of Transportation (DOT) approved helmet, as well as protective exterior layers. You never know when you’ll be surprised by wildlife crossing your path or overgrowth on a trail.
Pay Attention to the Weather
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that winter weather can get extreme. When conditions escalate, you don’t want to be caught out a long distance from home or any warm shelter. Before you hit the trails, always check the weather forecast and the trail conditions where you’ll be riding.
Use the Buddy System
Travelling alone increases your potential to get in a dangerous situation exponentially. Prepare for the unexpected by always travelling with a group or at least one other person.
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Don’t Leave the Trail
Snowmobile trails are there for a reason: because they keep you from getting lost and have a much lower risk of surprising you with dangerous obstacles.
Avoid Rivers and Lakes
Temperatures change day to day, and it is impossible to predict whether a surface contains the 6 inches of ice necessary for safe passage on a snowmobile. Rives have flowing water, so it is less likely that they will freeze to the required depth. Lakes can also contain many unseen hazards like fishing holes and icy ridges.
Take a Safety Course
If you’ve never gone through a snowmobile safety course, you should take one before starting out this season. While following the above suggestions will help to keep you safe, they are no substitute for taking a certified course with a qualified instructor who will help you to remember the rules, understand the reasons for snowmobile safety and allow you to ask any questions to clarify matters.
Owning a snowmobile can provide years of exciting journeys, but you don’t want to cut your fun short by being careless and getting hurt. Talk to a dealer about safety issues when you’re buying a new snowmobile this year.