Ah winter! Snow in the North Country certainly brings its share of headaches, especially for drivers!
Yet thousands of upstate New Yorkers and members of local snowmobile clubs race to abandon the cozy indoors even in the depths of winter to hit the snowmobile trails. And there are a lot of ‘em! The Great Sacandaga Lake area boasts hundreds of trails in the area just perfect for a winter romp!
It’s worth mentioning though that fun in the white stuff can bring its own set of hazards. After all, you’re ripping through the snow on a high-powered machine! While these machines can bring hours fun and entertainment, they should not be regarded as mere toys.
“The key to safe operation is knowing the machine, good judgment and courtesy,” says Weather.Com. “Your snowmobile’s safety features should be kept in good working order. Do not modify your machine. Make sure that the throttle, brake, steering and light systems all function properly. Never operate your machine unless the hood and the guards are in place and firmly attached. If your machine is equipped with an emergency switch, check its operation.”
Alcohol – Drinking While Snowmobiling
According to the American Council of Snowmobiling Associations, one of the chief safety precautions for all riders is NEVER CONSUME ALCOHOL BEFORE RIDING! Alcohol affects equilibrium and balance, seriously impairs judgment, and slows down reaction time! And, it’s important to remember that as a rider you are subject to the same DUI/DWI laws as any motorist.
Speed is a major factor in a majority of snowmobile accidents. Watch your speed and be mindful of all trail hazards such as fallen trees, rocks and fences. Reducing speed will give you time to react, especially at night!
Do not overload your vehicle. If you’re riding with passengers, do not exceed the recommended number of passengers for your vehicle.
Keep your children safe! It is illegal in most states for a child under the age of 10 to operate a snowmobile, but most state snowmobiling associations recommend it be avoided by anyone under 16 and most require adult supervision. Further, a child under the age of six should never ride a snowmobile as a passenger!
Youth ages 14 through 17 years old may operate a snowmobile without adult or other supervision if they have completed a snowmobile safety training course recognized by the State of New York.
Youth ages 10 through 13 may operate a snowmobile, on lands upon which snowmobiling is allowed, if they have completed a snowmobile safetytraining course recognized by the State of New York and are accompanied by (within 500 feet of) a person who is at least 18 years of age.
Youths who do not hold this certificate are subject to the same restrictions as children under the age of 14 years.
Children under 10 years old or under age 14 without a safety certificate may operate a snowmobile only on lands owned or leased by their parent or guardian.
Roads & Crossings
Crossing the road in a snowmobile is hazardous for both the snowmobile operator and drivers of cars & trucks and even pedestrians or winter sports enthusiasts. When approaching a road, approach the road slowly to give drivers a clear indication that your intent is to stop. Abrupt or a fast approach to a road can startle motorists and may cause them to slam on the breaks and loose control of the car.
Never, try to jump over the road! Yes, some people think that they are Evel Knievel and believe that they too can fly, think again. You could easily launch yourself into an oncoming motorist and easily kill your self and everyone else involved. If you do manage to escape serious injury, your snowmobile could sustain expensive damage.
Snowmobile Safety Courses and Resources
- New York State Snowmobile Safety Courses
- New York State Snowmobile Guide
- NY State Trails Council
- Adirondack Snowmobile Clubs
So, have a good time while out hitting the trails, be safe and come back home in one piece! Happy Snowmobiling and don’t forget to send us your snowmobile photos to firstname.lastname@example.org!