With over 600,000 registered snowmobiles in Canada, it’s clear snowmobiling is a favourite pastime among Canadians. We have compiled ten tips on how to safely enjoy snowmobiling this winter.
Know yourself, your snowmobile and your route.
- Read your snowmobile’s manual and be familiar with your machine’s capabilities and how to make minor repairs.
- Likewise, know your own abilities. Be careful not to overextend yourself or put yourself in a situation you are not prepared for.
- Familiarize yourself with the area you are exploring and always carry a map. Be respectful of private property.
Never drive under the influence.
- Just as with driving a car, driving a snowmobile under the influence is illegal as it impairs your judgment and slows reaction time.
- Contrary to popular opinion, alcohol does not warm you up. Drinking can actually increase your risk of hypothermia.
Obey the rules of the trail and road.
- Always ride at a safe speed, especially if you are in unfamiliar territory.
- Stick to areas where snowmobiling is allowed and stay to the trail’s right.
- Use hand signals to indicate when you are turning, stopping or slowing down.
- Cross roads and railway tracks safely. Come to a complete stop, check both directions and cross at a right angle.
- Dress in layers, including wearing a windproof outer layer, and warm boots and gloves or mitts.
- Your helmet should be safety-certified and fit properly. Adjust the chin strap so it is snug.
- Use glasses or goggles to protect against sun and wind.
Be prepared for anything.
- Before you head out, check the weather forecast and avalanche conditions.
- Learn survival skills and pack a first aid kit and emergency supplies, including sufficient food and water.
Keep children safe.
- Never leave children unsupervised around snowmobiles.
- Despite variations in age and training certification requirements across the country, it's often recommended that drivers be at least 16-years-old and that all passengers be at least six-years-old.
- Make sure new drivers receive instruction from a certified instructor (contact your local snowmobile association).
Be careful of ice.
- It is best to avoid travelling across lakes or rivers altogether. If you do, make sure the ice is safely frozen.
- Consider wearing a buoyant snowmobile suit if you must cross bodies of ice.
Be extra cautious at night.
- Slow down and keep an eye on other riders.
- Do not overdrive the range of your headlights. If you are snowmobiling in a large open area, find a point of reference that will help you judge distance and direction.
Maintain your machine.
- Regular service and maintenance can help you avoid experiencing a breakdown in the middle of nowhere.
- Check with your local club or retailer for maintenance workshops.
- Before each ride, ensure the snowmobile is in good working order.
Snowmobile with others.
- Snowmobiling is more fun when you can enjoy the experience with others. In addition, snowmobiling in groups will increase your safety.
- Be sure to let your friends and family members staying at home know where you are going and when you plan on returning.
Insurance for your snowmobile
Before you hit the trails on your snowmobile, it’s important to ensure you have proper insurance coverage. Whenever you drive your snowmobile off your private property, you are required by law to have insurance for your snowmobile. This includes anytime you use your snowmobile on public property or to cross public roads or parking lots.
Having proper insurance coverage can help provide you with protection against accident-related damages, theft, vandalism and liability both on and off the trail. Our BrokerLink brokers will take the time to determine the coverage you require and create a customized policy that provides you with the best value possible.
Contact your local BrokerLink branch to discuss your insurance options to make sure you are properly prepared before you ride off. Have a safe and enjoyable ride.