Snowmobile Safety Week

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OPP Snowmobiling

As the snowmobile season heightens, the Sault Ste. Marie Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) would like to provide some safety reminders for the snowmobile community.

Before you leave

  • fill up your gas tank
  • check the weather forecast before heading out.
  • contact the local snowmobile club to check trail and ice conditions
  • dress appropriately – wear clothing in layers, and make your top layer a snowmobile suit or other windproof layer
  • tell someone where you’re going, the route you will take, a description of your snowmobile and when you expect to return
  • never travel alone

Remember: Exposure to extreme cold can lead to frostbite and hypothermia. Your risk goes up as the temperature goes down.

  • Wind chill at or below -25 C: risk of frostbite to exposed skin
  • Wind chill at or below -35 C: frostbite in 10 minutes or less
  • Wind chill at or below -60 C: frostbite in less than 2 minutes

What to bring

Pack a snowmobile survival kit that includes:

  • first aid kit
  • GPS unit, trail map and compass
  • matches (or lighter) in a waterproof container
  • knife, saw or axe
  • ice picks (if you must cross over a frozen river or lake)
  • flashlight
  • whistle
  • high-energy food like nuts or granola bars
  • an extra set of dry clothing

You should also bring a snowmobile mechanical kit that includes:

  • spare spark plug and drive belt
  • tow rope
  • screwdriver, wrenches and hammer
  • owner’s manual

While you are driving

  • always drive within your ability
  • take extra care on corners and hills
  • obey speed limits and road/trail signs
  • always stay on the right-hand side of the trail
  • use appropriate hand signals before stopping, slowing down or turning
  • take extra care at road and rail crossings – cross roads at designated crossings and at a 90-degree angle so you can cross safely and quickly
  • never ride on private property without permission of the land owner

Driving at night

  • reduce your speed – some hazards are harder to see in the dark
  • use your headlights and drive at a speed where they can shine ahead of you
  • wear clothing that has reflective markings so that you are more visible to others

Driving on ice

  • avoid driving on unfamiliar frozen lakes and rivers, as open water may not be visible
  • if you must drive over ice, wear a buoyant snowmobile suit
  • always drive on ice that is new, hard and clear
  • never drive on ice that is slushy, weak, near moving water or that has recently thawed and refrozen
  • check ice conditions with the local snowmobile club before you head out

“The OPP is committed to ensuring that snowmobiling remains a safe recreational activity in Ontario.¬†Our continued partnership with the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) will ensure public safety on our trails across the Province.” Staff Sergeant Michael Maville