Beware Of Darkness
Low-light and darkness require special care. Slow down and watch for others. Overcast days require extra caution.
Don’t over drive your headlights. Ask yourself, “Am I driving slow enough to see an object in time to avoid a collision?”
At night on lakes and large open fields, estimating distances and direction of travel may become difficult. It is important to keep some point of reference when riding at night.
Beware Of Water
The safest snowmobiling rule is never to cross lakes or rivers. Besides the danger of plunging through the ice, you have far less traction for starting, turning and stopping on ice than on snow.
Collisions on lakes account for a significant number of accidents. Don’t hold the attitude that lakes are flat, wide open areas, free of obstructions.
Remember, if you can ride and turn in any direction, without boundaries, so can other riders. The threat of a collision, then, can come from any direction.
However, if you do snowmobile on the ice, make absolutely sure the ice is safely frozen. Don’t trust the judgement of other snowmobilers. You are responsible for your own safe snowmobiling. Drowning is a leading cause of snowmobile fatalities. Consider buying a buoyant snowmobile suit.
If you go through the ice, remember that your snowmobile suit (even a non-buoyant one) and helmet may keep you afloat for several minutes. Slide back onto the ice, using anything sharp to dig in for better pull. Kick your feet to propel you onto the ice, like a seal.
If the ice keeps breaking, continue moving toward shore or the direction from which you came. Don’t remove your gloves or mitts.
Once on the ice, roll away from the hole. Don’t stand until well away from the hole.
Beware Of Weather
Hypothermia lowers of the body’s core temperature. It can happen in water or on land. Hypothermia does not require extreme cold and accelerates with wind and wetness. Dressing warmly in water-resistant layers helps, but if immersed, quickly replace wet clothes, keep moving to generate body heat, and find immediate shelter and warmth.
Snow blindness occurs when direct and reflecting sun glare is too bright for the eyes. Riding without good quality, UV-protected sunglasses, goggles, or visor can cause permanent damage.
Frostbite results from freezing temperatures and poor circulation. Cover up and layer well, making sure that socks fit loosely within your boots. And remember mitts with liners are warmer than gloves.
If you dress properly with high tech winter wear and proper layering, winter comfort is easy. Start with polypropylene and thermal under layers that release moisture while retaining heat. Add other heat retentive layers depending on the temperature. Also consider the fact that your forward motion will add to the wind chill factor. Avoid cottons and sweatshirts that retain moisture. Try to find suits that are water and wind proof. Carry extra clothing, socks, and mitts for layering. A helmet and face shield combat cold and hazards, while waterproof insulated boots and leather snowmobile mitts provide warmth and protection.