With snowmobile season winding down, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reminds all riders to avoid drinking alcohol and riding, and to take other safety precautions.

According to the DNR, alcohol is a factor in over 60% of all fatal accidents in Minnesota, as well as many non-deadly snowmobile accidents.  Alcohol and other drugs impair a driver's vision, balance, coordination, and reaction time.

While avoiding alcohol is a crucial step to stay safe, there are other safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Never ride alone - Always ride with a friend on another snowmobile. This way if one machine is disabled, you have another to get help.
  • Dress for safety & survival - Always wear a quality DOT helmet and facemask. Wear layers of clothing to keep warm and dry. Snowmobile suits, bibs, jackets, gloves and mittens should cut the wind, repel water and keep you ventilated.
  • Slow down - Excessive speed is a major factor in many accidents, especially at night. To help avoid accidents, keep your night time speed under 40 MPH.
  • Stay to the right - Almost every trail is a "two way" trail. So stay to the far right of the trail, especially on hills and corners. Obey all trail signs and cross roadways with extreme caution.
  • Stay on the trail or stay home - Trespassing is a major complaint about snowmobilers and can result in trail closure. Always stay on designated snowmobile trails. Venturing off of trails can result in accidents. Only ride private property when you have landowners permission.
  • Riding on ice, lakes & rivers - It is safest to avoid riding on lakes and rivers. If you must ride on ice, wear a life jacket over your outer clothing. Stay on the marked trail and stay off of ice that has moving water (current) near or under it - ice in these areas may be thin and weak. Ice Safety Information

It's also a great idea to take snowmobile safety training, regardless of age.  You can follow the link below for details and options.

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