With more than 1.5 million registered snowmobiles in the U.S., this sport continues to grow in popularity. In addition, winter ATV use is also on the rise. But these activities bring an increased opportunity for injury, making safety crucial for riders.
Follow these steps for a safe snowmobile or ATV ride this winter:
1. Always wear a helmet, eye protection, and protective clothing — including winter gear such as hats, gloves, and goggles.
2. Don’t let children under 16 ride adult-sized snowmobiles or ATVs.
3. Attend an ATV- or snowmobile-operator training course and read the owner’s manual before riding.
4. Do a pre-ride safety check (tires, wheels, chain, cables, etc.).
5. Never ride if you’re under the influence of alcohol.
6. Be aware of the weather conditions, whether there is snow, ice, or freezing temperatures. Avoid excessive speed and travel at rates appropriate for the terrain and conditions.
7. Watch for any tree stumps, fences, or other objects that may be hidden under snow.
8. Travel with a partner or a group. If you must travel alone, tell someone your planned route and when you expect to return.
9. Don’t ride across bodies of water if you are uncertain of ice thickness. Changing temperatures, snow, and moving currents can prevent a thick layer of ice from forming, making ice an unstable and dangerous terrain.
10. Consult your state’s DNR (Department of Natural Resources) for local regulations.