Stay safe and embrace the open trails this season.
Snowmobiling is an exhilarating and adventurous pastime for most New Englanders this time of year. Whether you’re an avid trail rider or thrill-seeking hill climber, it’s critical that you practice safe riding techniques.
To help keep you safe during your snow-venture, we’ve compiled a few precautions to help you stay safe on the open trails:
1. Always inspect your snowmobile before you ride.
Make sure your brakes, lights, skis, and throttle are working properly and that your fluid levels are up to ensure your machine is running safely and appropriately.
2. Be sure to wear appropriate clothes and protective gear.
Staying warm and dry during your ride will not only make it more enjoyable, but also much safer. Dress in layers and choose polyester blends to wick away moisture. Always wear a DOT-approved helmet to keep you warm and, importantly, to protect your head from injury.
3. Never ride alone. Bring a buddy whenever venturing out on the open trails.
Riding with a friend or in a group is much safer than going out alone. In the event something goes wrong or your sled breaks down on the trail, you’ll have someone with you to offer immediate help. Be sure to inform family of your travel plans, route, and your expected return time. In case you get stranded they’ll be able to locate you more easily if they know where you were riding. Also, keep in mind that cellphone service varies and may not be available in remote areas.
4. Stay equipped with a first aid kit, emergency kit, and repair kit.
Keep snacks, water, and a first aid, emergency, and repair kit with you at all times. These are crucial in case of injury, if you become stranded, or if your machine malfunctions. Temperatures can drop rapidly and it may take some time for help to return. Always be prepared.
5. Stay on marked trails and don’t speed.
Marked trails are groomed and properly maintained for riding. You’re less likely to encounter obstacles such as diches, rocks, fallen trees and other dangerous hazards. Going off trails may lead to accidents as you’re treading unfamiliar terrain hidden by snow. Also, steer clear of private property signs. Unless you have permission to do so, avoid these areas entirely. And most importantly, always watch your speed. Stay alert and use caution when entering corners and intersections.