Freezing cold weather has finally hit the Northeast region. After several extra months of 70 degree weather, we have finally seen a quick glimpse of snow flurries! Although many of us have enjoyed the warmer weather, the snow is coming! The first sign of a good snow are the snowmobile tracks that grace the fields and empty lots. Although these wintertime toys are a blast, using improper safety measures will quickly ruin the fun!
Many people feel confined and keep to indoor spaces during cold Pennsylvania winters. Others find adventure, community, and thrill by embracing their snowmobiles! Although these vehicles offer outdoor amusement for family and friends, they can be very dangerous when certain precautions are not taken. An article sponsored by Cincinnati Insurance and written by Mark Hertzfeldt (2016), “A Checklist for Safe Snowmobiling,” offers explanation as to why snowmobile safety is important and how to prevent serious accidents that would interrupt the winter fun!
Snowmobile manufacturers in North America are monitored and represented by the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association (ISMA). ISMA collects reports on the number of registered snow mobiles and the effect that they have the economy. Although snowmobile owners may seem like a small market, snowmobile owners and users account for approximately $26 billion in annual economic activities! Wintertime leisure snowmobiling helps to boost the economy through accessories, supplies, gasoline, and tourism.
Since snowmobiling is a BIG wintertime activity, ISMA designed a safety program specifically geared toward those who use the snowmobiles as leisure time toys. Here are ten safety tips that are provided within the safety program and are essential to having uninterrupted fun this winter!
- Check Your Machine – take a look at the belt, skis, oil and gas before zooming off into the sunset! You want to make sure your machine is in good condition and gassed up for the return trip.
- Layer Up – be sure to bundle up from head to toe to prevent the cold from getting to your limbs. Wear goggles to protect your eyes from the bitter cold and keep your vision clear.
- Head Gear – be sure to get a fitted helmet for each rider so that the head has adequate protection in the event of an accident.
- Be a Groupie – don’t run off and go solo unless you inform other riders what route you will be taking. In the event of an emergency you want to be easy to find!
- Keep to The Trail – it is tempting to roam aimlessly through the woods and fields, but when on private property, keep to any trails that are provided. Snow can make a rough terrain appear to be very forgiving by hiding rocks, stumps, and holes!
- Slow Down – just like when operating any other motorized vehicles, keep to a pace that allows for sharp turns or route adjustments as the last minute if you deem it necessary.
- General Traffic Flow Patterns – try to follow basic traffic flow patterns such as keeping to the right of a lane and allowing opposing traffic to pass on your left. This keeps hills and curves open for oncoming traffic.
- First Aid Kit – a good kit can help to prevent an emergency from getting worse when you carry a flashlight, compass, map, matches, and basic medical supplies such as gauze, Tylenol, alcohol wipes, and band aids.
- Communicate – when travelling apart from your group, carry walkie-talkies with a long distance range or a well charged cell phone.
- DUI – drinking and driving isn’t only restricted for cars, you shouldn’t attempt this on a snowmobile either! Driving in between trees, fences, and rocks won’t be fun for long if you have impaired eyesight and poor reflexes!
Now that you are aware of the many safety precautions that should be taken, go have fun!! Pack up a safety kit, check your fuel or engine, and enjoy the blustery wind, floating snow, and crisp seasonal weather that hangs around only for a short time each year!
If you purchased a new snowmobile this year or you simply need insurance on an existing one, don’t hesitate to give us a call for some quotes! Be sure to get that vehicle insured before you start your wintertime adventures.
Hertzfeldt, Mark. “A Checklist for Safe Snowmobiling.” The Cinncinati Insurance Companies Blog. The Cincinnati Insruance Companies, 12 Jan. 2016. Web. 12 Jan. 2016. <http://blog.cinfin.com/2016/01/12/checklist-safe-snowmobiling/>.