The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is reminding snowmobile operators and riders to use caution and focus on safety this winter when conditions are right for snowmobile riding.
There were 15 reported snowmobile accidents, two of which resulted in fatalities, during the 2017-2018 season in Illinois.
In most instances, knowing the trail and traveling at a reasonable rate of speed for trail conditions can prevent accidents. It’s also important to be alert and sober. In North America, more than half of snowmobile fatalities involve intoxicated operators.
While the IDNR encourages everyone to take a snowmobile safety course, state law requires that persons at least 12 years of age and less than 16 years old must have in their possession a valid Snowmobile Safety Education Certificate of Competency issued by IDNR in order to operate a snowmobile alone.
Details on safety course options are available on the IDNR website www.dnr.illinois.gov.
Basic safety tips for safe snowmobiling:
• Never consume alcohol before or during a ride.
• Know your equipment, and make sure that equipment is in proper working order.
• Wear sensible, protective clothing designed for snowmobiling, like a full-size helmet, goggles, or face shield to prevent injuries from twigs, stones, ice chips, and flying debris.
• Avoid wearing long scarves, which may get caught in moving parts of the snowmobile.
• Know the terrain you are going to ride.
• Be aware of trails or portions of trails that may be closed;
• Drowning is one cause of snowmobile fatalities; when not familiar with the thickness of the ice or water currents, avoid these areas.
• Know the weather forecast and especially the ice and snow conditions in the area.
• Always use the buddy system and never ride alone or unaccompanied;
• Travel at a reasonable rate of speed for visibility and conditions.