STORMONT,DUNDAS & GLENGARRY – The SD&G OPP, in partnership with the OFSC, encourages snowmobilers to educate themselves about staying safe throughout the snowmobiling season.
Snowmobile safety is an important component of the OPP’s Provincial Traffic Safety Program.
The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) collaborates with the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) on providing safe, enjoyable snowmobiling on OFSC prescribed trails.
The OPP encourages snowmobilers to adhere to OFSC trails, as these remain the safest areas to ride on.
Travelling on unsafe ice, speeding, driving too fast for the conditions and alcohol consumption continue to be leading causes in OPP-investigated snowmobile fatalities.
Tips for arriving home safely after each ride:
Stay on the trail: Staying on open OFSC trail is safer than riding anywhere else.
Know the scenario: Like other motorized recreational activities, snowmobiling poses certain inherent risks. Be prepared for the unexpected and avoid unnecessary risks.
Choose the right time and place: Make a smart choice about if, when and how to ride based on the conditions at the time.
Choose good visibility conditions: On the snow, many factors can severely limit your ability to see properly, including snow dust, white-outs, heavy snow or freezing rain, sun glare, flat light or fog; fogging or icing of visor and/or eye glasses, and darkness or over-riding your headlights.
Spread out: Snowmobilers are reminded to keep a safe distance from other riders.
Be vigilant: Simply put, you always need to know what’s going on around you to be able to properly assess your position and your next moves.
Use hand signals: Habitual use of the hand signals is both the courteous and responsible choice, so get in the habit of using them where it is safe and prudent to do so. The hand signals can be found at www.ccso-ccom.ca/hand-signals/
Keep your wits: Smart choices, good judgment, constant vigilance and sharp reactions are the four keys to snowmobiling without incident.
Keep right: By choosing to deliberately and constantly keep your sled on the right side of the trail, you’ll dramatically increase your chances of staying out of harm’s way.
Know before you go: No ice is completely safe. If you choose to cross anyway, you can reduce the personal risk you are accepting. Always cross in good visibility conditions and try to follow a stake line and/or previously beaten track. Never cross alone. Keep a sharp eye out for ice heaves and ice roads.
Be prepared: The best plans will have you prepared in the event that an incident occurs. You can help ensure your personal safety with preparations like filing a ride plan before leaving home, carrying a reliable communications device and a personal tracking unit, always riding with an emergency/survival kit and to packing spare parts and a tow rope.