Most people don't get excited about the first snowfall of the year. If you own a snowmobile however, you're probably itching to hit the trails. While you're watching the skies, you can take the time to brush up on a few key tips to keep you and your family safe this season.
What To Do
1. Know the Rules of the Road
Snowmobiles are vehicles and drivers need to follow the rules of wherever they're going.
2. Suit Up
Keep yourself warm by dressing for the conditions. Choose a full snowsuit, helmet, protective goggles, boots, mitts or gloves, and socks. If you're bringing a passenger, make sure they're also dressed for the trip.
3. Travel With the Traffic
If riding in a highway ditch or right-of-way, you should travel in the same direction as the nearest traffic lane. Driving against the traffic can be confusing and dangerous for other drivers.
4. Carry an Emergency Kit
Emergencies can and will happen. Take a first aid kit and signal flares with you when you're hitting the trails. We also recommend packing something you can use to build a fire.
5. Make Sure Your Sled is Working Well
Now's a good time to tune up and oil up your machine. Keep your snowmobile in good condition will prevent further problems and is essential for keeping your insurance coverage up to date.
6. Warn Your Passenger About Bumps
Your passenger can't see what's coming up. Give them a heads up on any sharp turns, dips and trees, so they can shift or duck accordingly.
7. Take a Snowmobile Safety Course
Our parent company, SGI, offers a course to teach basic safety for riders. It's mandatory in Saskatchewan resident born on or after January 1, 1989 – and we highly recommend it for everyone else.
What Not To Do
1. Don't Drive Drunk or Distracted
Not only is driving impaired reckless, but you'll face the same penalties as you would when driving a motor vehicle.
2. Don't Drive a Machine You Can't Handle
Match the size and horsepower of your machine to your age, ability and physical strength.
3. Don't Take Dumb Chances
Don't drive too fast or try to push your snowmobile beyond its limits. Ex. Trying to drive up steep mountain slopes. That's a surefire way to break your machine – and it won't be covered by your insurance.
4. Don't Carry Passengers if You're Driving a Single-Person Machine
Not only is it a rough ride, but it's also dangerous. Only carry passengers if your snowmobile is made to do so.
5. Don't Handle Gasoline Recklessly
When gasoline touches the skin in sub-zero temperatures, it evaporates immediately, which lowers the skin's temperature and increases the risk of frostbite or freezing. If you spill fuel on your skin, wipe it off right away and cover the area to warm it up.
If you'd like more information on snowmobiling in Saskatchewan, here's a great brochure from SGI. And you can always contact Heritage Insurance for more information.
Stay safe this winter!
(Article courtesy: SGI)