6 tips to ensure a safe snowmobile trek
Published on January 15, 2022
Do you own a snowmobile? Be sure to stay safe on the snow and ice. Before heading out this winter, make sure you know these safety tips. They may come in handy!
1. Perform a mechanical check
Before your first ride, test the engine, brakes, reverse gear, suspension, skis and front lights to make sure they are in good working condition. Check whether the tracks are still studded. Listen for any abnormal noises your snowmobile makes. Make sure to also have enough gas for the duration of the trip.
2. Head out as a group
You should ride with at least one other person during your snowmobile trips. If you run into any mechanical problems, two heads are better than one. If you’d prefer to head out on your own, share your itinerary with a friend or family member.
3. Bring your cell phone
Keep your mobile device in your pocket so that you can contact someone in case you get stuck on the trail. Or, if another snowmobiler needs help, you can call for help.
4. Don’t drive while impaired
The consumption of alcohol or the use of drugs or certain medication impairs your ability to drive and make wise decisions. For example, you may suddenly decide to cross a road without looking out for oncoming traffic. You can also become increasingly reckless under the influence of alcohol, such as crossing a lake that is not entirely frozen.
5. Check the condition of the ice
Is the body of water frozen enough? Make sure it’s safe before crossing. Don’t just rely on the tracks made by others who have crossed there before you did. Check the colour of the ice to assess the stability of the surface:
The Fédération des clubs de motoneigistes du Québec’s website recommends that ice be at least 5 inches (12 cm) thick.
- Clear blue ice is very solid – the cold has made it stable enough for you to cross.
- White opaque ice is partially solid – hard on the surface, but unstable underneath. In this case, be vigilant.
- If the ice appears grey, it is fragile: don’t take any risks by crossing over it.
6. Buy a lifejacket or personal flotation device (PFD)
There are some brands on the market that provide jackets and one-piece suits that contain a liner with a flotation system. This equipment will protect you from hypothermia for up to two hours. It will also reduce the risk of drowning.
However, once the suit gets wet, you won’t be able to wear it again. If you plan to go off-roading and cross over lakes, you’ll need one.
Finally, you’ll be able to go on snowmobile treks safely if you prepare adequately and apply safety prevention practices.
Your insurance broker is there to help you prevent losses. Contact him or her!