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How to be a safer snowmobiler

When you are out snowmobiling and experiencing the freedom of flying across the powdery snow, safety is sometimes the furthest thing from your mind. But whenever you ride there are a few safety tips you should remember:

1. Always approach the crest of a hill with caution; there could be many hazards on the other side.
2. Use caution when crossing lakes and streams.
3. Always look over your shoulder for oncoming riders before changing directions.
4. Suspect any bumps that protrude from the snow and avoid them if possible.
5. Keep to the right when trail riding.
6. Make sure to park in a visible area and pull over far enough to the right when stopping on the trail.
7. An X made of sticks marks a hazardous area.
8. When approaching other riders, indicate how many riders are following in your group by holding up the correct number of fingers. The last person should show a fist.
9. The safest way to cross a fence is to drive next to a clearly visible fence post with no protruding wires. Fences in good repair will have a post every four feet.
10. Never ride alone, and tell someone your destination and when you plan to return.
11. Slow down, especially at night.
12. Dress appropriately and wear a helmet.
13. Be familiar with your snowmobile, carry extra spark plugs, drive belt, tool kit and a tow rope.
14. Carry a survival kit.
15. Take a snowmobile safety course; even experienced riders can learn something new.
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