Snowmobiling is a popular pastime in Wisconsin during the winter months. It’s a great way to get outdoors and make the most of the cold and snow, as well as to take advantage of our state’s thousands of miles of snowmobile trails.
While many might think snowmobiling and having a few drinks go hand in hand, alcohol and snowmobiling is a particularly dangerous combination.
Alcohol is one of the leading causes of crashes
According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), alcohol is consistently a contributing factor to the majority of snowmobile crashes and fatalities each winter. In 2021, alcohol was involved in 9 of 13 fatal crashes. In 2022, there have already been ten snowmobiling fatalities.
Operating a snowmobile while intoxicated is dangerous enough. But when combined with the following common contributors to crashes, it becomes even more deadly:
- Excessive speed
- Driver inexperience or error
- Changing weather patterns
- Thin or inconsistent ice
- Unmarked trails
- Riding at night
According to the DNR, a snowmobile going over 40 mph takes over 70 yards to stop. When alcohol is involved, reaction time can be delayed – causing the snowmobile to take even longer to stop. Delayed reaction times and compromised decision-making skills combined with the hazards listed above can make for a treacherous ride.
To promote safer snowmobiling, the snowmobiling community both in Wisconsin and across the country has been pushing a zero-tolerance initiative. This reinforces that no amount of alcohol is safe while operating a snowmobile.
Your options after a snowmobiling crash
If you were injured in a crash caused by or involving a drunk driver, you should understand your options. Snowmobile crashes can result in serious injuries, including broken bones, head and neck injuries and even crushing injuries. Snowmobiles are powerful machines, with typical snowmobiles weighing around 500 pounds.
After a crash, you might be able to seek compensation for your injuries to help you move forward. A personal injury attorney can help you learn what to expect.