Things You Should Know Before You Go Snowmobiling

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snowmobile spring melt

As the snowmobile season comes upon us, the Sault Ste. Marie Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) would like to provide some safety reminders for the snowmobile community. Snowmobile safety week runs from January 18 to January 26, 2020.

Before you leave

fill up your gas tank
check the weather forecast before heading out.
contact the local snowmobile club to check trail and ice conditions
dress appropriately – wear clothing in layers, and make your top layer a snowmobile suit or other windproof layer
tell someone :
where you’re going
the route you will take
a description of your snowmobile
when you expect to return
never travel alone
Remember: Exposure to extreme cold can lead to frostbite and hypothermia. Your risk goes up as the temperature goes down.

Wind chill at or below -25 C: risk of frostbite to exposed skin
Wind chill at or below -35 C: frostbite in 10 minutes or less
Wind chill at or below -60 C: frostbite in less than 2 minutes
What to bring

Pack a snowmobile survival kit that includes:

first aid kit
GPS unit, trail map and compass
matches (or lighter) in a waterproof container
knife, saw or axe
ice picks (if you must cross over a frozen river or lake)
flashlight
whistle
high-energy food like nuts or granola bars
an extra set of dry clothing
You should also bring a snowmobile mechanical kit that includes:

spare spark plug and drive belt
tow rope
screwdriver, wrenches and hammer
owner’s manual
While you are driving

always drive within your ability
take extra care on corners and hills
obey speed limits and road/trail signs
always stay on the right-hand side of the trail
use appropriate hand signals before stopping, slowing down or turning
take extra care at road and rail crossings – cross roads at designated crossings and at a 90-degree angle so you can cross safely and quickly
never ride on private property without permission of the land owner
Driving at night

reduce your speed – some hazards are harder to see in the dark
use your headlights and drive at a speed where they can shine ahead of you
wear clothing that has reflective markings so that you are more visible to others
Driving on ice

avoid driving on unfamiliar frozen lakes and rivers, as open water may not be visible
if you must drive over ice, wear a buoyant snowmobile suit
always drive on ice that is new, hard and clear
never drive on ice that is slushy, weak, near moving water or that has recently thawed and refrozen
check ice conditions with the local snowmobile club before you head out
STATS

32% of fatalities occur in February
27% of fatalities occur on Saturday
45% of fatalities occur on a frozen lake or river
45% of fatalities involve alcohol or drugs
43% of fatalities occur between 6:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m.
92% of the victims involved in fatalities are male
25% of the victims are between the ages of 45 and 54 years old
Primary causes of fatalities involve speed and alcohol
“The OPP is committed to ensuring that snowmobiling remains a safe recreational activity in Ontario” Staff Sergeant Manuela Byrnes

 

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