Snowmobile Safety Important Things to Remember

Snowmobiling is a cherished pastime for communities in climates that experience snowy winters. Snowmobilers enjoy the thrill of zipping across fields of powdery snow and tearing through snow-filled ditches. An ATV dealer and an enthusiast would both agree that the winter-weather vehicles are an exhilarating hobby.
However, just like dirt biking or motorcycling, novice snowmobilers should educate themselves on sled safety before hitting the snow. Here’s the important safety features of snowmobiles you need to know before getting in touch with your local ATV dealer:
1. Educate yourself (and your kids) before you ride.
a. This includes a snowmobile safety course, but that’s not all. While it’s important that you are well versed in responsible snowmobile use, riding etiquette, and hazard recognition, it’s also essential to understand how your machine functions and its weaknesses. You should know how to recognize a snowmobile that isn’t running properly before taking it out in an area where you couldn’t get immediate help. It’s a good idea to keep your owner’s manual handy in case of a snowmobile malfunction. Develop a system to regularly check the condition and functionality of the machine’s most fundamental parts, including the skis, breaks and battery, before taking the sled out on long trips.
2. Known the terrain you’re in.
a. Don’t take off on your new snowmobile without researching your surroundings! This includes checking weather conditions and snow levels. Sledders who are unfamiliar with travelling over soft, fresh snow are just as much at risk as those who don’t know how to cross compact, ice-encrusted fields. Snow is great on the ground, but no so much in the sky; white-out conditions or blizzards pose a serious safety hazard, especially for those using unfamiliar trails. Other important things to be aware of before it’s too late are bodies of water, barbed wire fences, highways, or large snow drifts. Use extreme caution navigating any vehicle on open bodies of water, even rivers; while the surface may appear to be frozen, it is impossible to determine the thickness of the ice and whether it could hold a snowmobile and rider.
3. Suit up.
a. Standing out on your patio in the wintertime in your flannel pajamas with a warm cup of coffee in your hands doesn’t feel too bad, right? The same winter temperatures that feel not too bad when idly standing can make for a miserable, or even dangerous, snowmobile ride. Chill factors can make the cold exponentially worse for an improperly suited rider, especially if sledding into the wind. Insulation is the most important factor of choosing your snowmobile equipment, because you might not only be battling cold, but wetness as well. Polyester blends will wick the moister of melted snow and sweat away from your body to ensure that you maintain a comfortable core temperature. Avoid fabrics that can freeze, such as cotton.
b. Don’t skimp on your gloves or helmet! If your gloves are not appropriate for a winter ATV ride, the freezing sensation in your hands will quickly ruin your trip. Choose a pair that is layered and properly fitting. Similarly, the draft of a frigid wind can be uncomfortable and unsafe on the vulnerable skin of the face. Full-face helmets are best, but goggles or face shields can be worn also, along with a thick winter hat. The latter ensemble is no excuse to skip the helmet, however; your ATV dealer advises to wear an approved helmet at all times.
4. Other important things to know
a. If you’re too young to drive a car, you’re too young to drive a snowmobile. Studies by the American Academy of Pediatrics indicate that kids under this age lack the motor skills and stature necessary to drive a vehicle.
b. Find a babysitter for the littlest ones. Children under the age of six are at a heightened risk as a passenger on a snowmobile, which can cross rough patches of terrain and take unexpected bumps, tilts or jumps. Your kiddos don’t have the arm strength to hold onto you and stay safe throughout the ride.
With over 100,000 snowmobiles sold last year worldwide, it comes as no surprise that the vehicles are a favorite pastime. Once you’re confident that you’ve read up on all the most important snowmobile safety points, contact your nearest neighborhood ATV dealer right away.

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