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Published February 10, 2020

It’s Snowmobiling Season! How Can You Stay Safe?

Snowmobiling is a wonderful way to explore Ontario’s beautiful winter landscapes. However, if you or those around you are reckless, it can lead to devastating accidents, life-changing injuries, and even death.

Snowmobile Accidents In Canada

Due to the speed and weight of snowmobiles, they often cause injuries that are more severe than other winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, and hockey. Each year, as many as 50 people die¹ in snowmobile accidents in Ontario and Quebec alone. And according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, over 900 Canadians² are hospitalized due to snowmobile-related injuries. Don’t be another statistic

Top Five Snowmobiling Safety Tips

There are a number of things you and your family can do to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable time snowmobiling. Here are five snowmobiling safety tips.

1. Plan Your Route

Planning your route ahead of time means you are prepared with a plan and won’t get lost or end up somewhere dangerous. Remember, in order for you to safely cross ice on a snowmobile, it should be at least 20 centimetres thick if it’s blue, and twice that if it is white or opaque. Furthermore, always tell your family or friends where you’ll be ahead of time, and schedule regular check-ins with them so they know you’re safe.

2. Stick To Snowmobile Trails

Did you know Ontario has over 30,000 km of trails³ for you to explore? These trails are patrolled by Ontario Provincial Police, municipal police, conservation officers and Snowmobile Trail Patrol Officers, and sometimes require a trail permit to use. Be sure to stick to snowmobile trails and avoid highways, paved public roads, and ploughed road shoulders where drivers may not see you.

3. Wear A Helmet

Wearing a helmet can save your life. Plus, it helps retain heat and keeps you warm! Whether you’re driving or riding a snowmobile, you must wear a helmet that meets the standards for motorcycle helmets, or motor-assisted bicycle helmets. Also, remember to fasten it properly under the chin.

4. Bring A Safety Kit

Whether you’re involved in a collision and get hurt, or your snowmobile breaks down and you’re stranded in the snow, accidents happen. Before you hit the trails, don’t forget to pack some safety kit essentials including: a first aid kit; a GPS, compass, or snowmobile trail map; high-energy non-perishable food; a whistle; a thick blanket; matches or a lighter; a knife, axe, or saw; a small shovel; and a tarp in case you need to make an emergency shelter.

5. Drive Safely & Responsibly

Safety in numbers is real, so don’t go snowmobiling alone. Instead, always ride in groups. Additionally, it is important you understand your driving abilities, and ride within them. In Ontario4, snowmobile drivers must be at least 12 years old, have a valid driver’s licence or motorized snow vehicle operator’s licence, register the snowmobile with the Ministry of Transportation, and have insurance.

Stay Safe This Winter

Snowmobiling is such a fun winter activity. By following the safety protocols above, you can stay safe and decrease your risk of getting in an accident. However, if you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury from a snowmobiling accident, contact MG Law at (613) 730-8460. Our experienced personal injury lawyers are here to help.

Sources:

1 https://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/snowmobiles-leave-trails-of-destruction/
2 https://globalnews.ca/news/4316749/sports-injuries-hospitalizations-canada/
3 https://www.ofsc.on.ca/
4 http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/snowmobile-safety.shtml

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