DATE: February 5, 2013
SNOWMOBILE SAFETY BEGINS WITH THE OPERATOR
(ORILLIA, ON) - The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is warning snowmobile enthusiasts to exercise caution at all times while out enjoying this winter past time. This warning comes after two fatal motorized snow vehicle collisions have occurred within Central Region in the past 11 days.
The OPP is asking snowmobilers to always exercise caution and to travel at speeds which take into consideration not only their ability as an operator, but also the conditions of the trails they are travelling upon. With the fluctuation in temperatures this year, some trails have become very icy and difficult to navigate.
The following safety tips are strongly recommended by the OPP:
Always wear a helmet.
Only travel on trails which are groomed and posted as “open”.
When travelling on frozen water surfaces make sure that the ice is strong enough to support you and your snowmobile.
Watch out for open water around docks and shorelines that may be caused by operating bubblers.
Be cognizant that lower water levels have caused normally submerged hazards such as rocks to now be exposed.
Be aware that areas where there has blowing and drifting snow that obstructions such as docks may be covered.
Travel only at posted speed limits - don’t speed.
Only operate snowmobiles that you are familiar with.
The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) website also suggests the following be kept in mind while snowmobiling:
Wind Chill: Wind chill occurs when the temperature drops below the actual thermometer reading due to wind and/or the forward momentum of a fast moving sled. Wind chill exposes you to severe cold, which in turn can cause hypothermia. Wind-proof outer garments, extra layers and a balaclava will offer some protection, but keep your face shield down to prevent wind burn and to protect your skin and eyes.
Ride Safe: Please follow the nationally approved snowmobile hand signals to ensure safety on the trails for everyone.
Practice Zero Alcohol: Alcohol is involved in over 70% of snowmobiling fatalities. Even small amounts of alcohol can impair your perception, slow your reaction time and limit your ability to control your sled at that critical moment when your life is in the balance. Operating your sled under the influence of alcohol is punishable under the Criminal Code of Canada. If convicted of driving a snowmobile while impaired, you will lose all driving privileges (car, truck, motorcycle, off-road vehicles and snowmobile). Therefore if you drink and ride both your driver's license and insurability are at risk.
Night Riding: Nine out of ten fatalities, occur after dark. Slow down, don't overdrive your headlights. Becoming disoriented or lost is much more likely at night. Wear outer clothing with reflective trim on the arms, back and helmet. Never ride alone at night. Always dress in your full snowmobiling outfit even if your intended destination is just next-door.
Please do your part and make safety part of your preparation and planning for any day on the trails.
Contact: Sergeant Peter Leon
Central Region Media Relations Coordinator
Phone: 705- 330-3738