With two snowmobile deaths in as many days and the arrival of spring, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is urging snowmobilers to avoid taking unnecessary risks, especially on frozen waterways, as their season winds down.
The two tragedies over the weekend (March 22-24, 2019) mark 11 fatal snowmobile incidents and 13 lives lost in OPP jurisdictions so far this season.
The OPP cannot stress enough the importance of avoiding frozen waterways at this time of year for those wanting to get in their ‘last few rides’. Five people who died this season were traveling on lakes or rivers when their snowmobile either broke though the ice or was driven into open water. One such case occurred last weekend.
Past investigations into snowmobile incidents reveal that driving onto open water is often the result of two common, costly errors in judgement. One scenario involves a snowmobiler travelling too fast on unsafe ice and having insufficient time to slow down when they suddenly come upon and enter open water.
In the second scenario, the snowmobiler deliberately travels over patches of open water (known as “water skipping” or “puddle jumping”) in the misguided belief they can successfully reach the other side.
Excessive speed, driving too fast for the conditions and alcohol/drug impairment continue to be other leading factors in OPP-investigated snowmobile deaths.
The OPP reminds snowmobilers that with warmer temperatures in many parts of the province, riding conditions on waterways and land will deteriorate daily.