Snowmobiling is a very popular winter recreational activity that provides enthusiasts with fun and access to some of Ontario’s most spectacular scenery. Making smart choices while snowmobiling will help ensure that not only will your journey be enjoyable, it will also be a safe one.
The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) are reminding snowmobilers to take personal responsibility for their own safety and well-being this winter. The decisions you make while snowmobiling may impact your eligibility to drive a vehicle or even worse, they may have consequences which could impact your health or life.
Safe snowmobiling isn’t just what happens while out on the trail, it’s part of a process of making smart choices throughout your entire journey.
It starts with preparing your sled, gear and equipment before your first ride and maintaining these throughout the season. It continues through the planning and communication of your riding route and by always checking trail availability prior to accessing trails via the Interactive Trail Guide at ofsc.on.ca. Smart choices are especially important at the start of the season, a critical period as snow arrives and trail preparations commence although trails remain unavailable for riding.
Once on the trail, every snowmobiler has the responsibility to ride with caution and to continually make smart choices. Riders are reminded that snowmobiling is an off-road activity that occurs in an unpredictable and uncontrollable natural environment.
What is an unpredictable and uncontrollable natural environment?
Quite simply, every snowmobiler needs to recognize that trails aren’t predictable or engineered like roadways. Signage is provided as a courtesy, not as a right and snowmobiles lack the personal safety equipment found on cars and trucks.
Sudden dips and rises, curves and bumps are common and are all capable of throwing surprises at you when you least expect it. Always expect the unexpected, you never know what’s around the corner or over the next hill.
Know the law, it’s designed to keep you safe
OFSC Prescribed Trails are subject to laws governed under the Motorized Snow Vehicles Act and enforced by local police detachments all over the province. Snowmobilers are encouraged to know the law and ride within it.
To keep snowmobiling safe and enjoyable for everyone, there are a number of simple things each and every rider can do, including but not limited to:
• Know your abilities and ride within them.
• Adjust your speed to account for visibility, climate, terrain and familiarity.
• Know your machine’s capabilities and don’t push beyond them.
• Know your riding area and plan your route.
• Stay on trails and in areas where snowmobiles are permitted.
• Drive on the right side of the trail.
• Use extra caution when riding during the evening or night.
• Do not use alcohol or drugs before or during snowmobiling. Zero tolerance is the only way to ride safely.
• Carry emergency supplies and learn first aid and survival skills.
• Know and use proper hand signals.
• Know the law and ride within it.
• Ride with a buddy or a group.
Snowmobiling is great fun, and you can ensure your enjoyment by respecting the law and making smart choices.
The OPP is committed to saving lives on Ontario’s highways, trails and waterways through the reduction of preventable injury and death. Initiatives are developed and delivered through the OPP Provincial Traffic Safety Program.
The OFSC is committed to proactive leadership in promoting safe, responsible riding on and off Ontario’s snowmobile trails, by building safer snowmobiling knowledge, attitudes and behaviours through rider education and safety promotion partnerships.