Did you know that snowmobiles were originally created as emergency vehicles? They were also used to move equipment and supplies to areas where other vehicles could not navigate safely.
Today, snowmobiling is a popular winter sport, but the vehicles weigh nearly 700 pounds and can move up to 150 miles per hour. Every year, 14,000 people receive injuries and almost 200 people get killed in snowmobile accidents.
Causes of snowmobile accidents
Operators of these vehicles often collide with buildings, trees, stationary objects, wildlife and vehicles. Drivers in other vehicles may have difficulty seeing a snowmobile operator, especially if either vehicle is moving quickly. These operators can also encounter hazardous trail conditions, such as fallen trees or slippery trails.
At times, insufficient maintenance and manufacturing flaws cause accidents. These incidents also frequently involve alcohol or drugs. Lack of experience or proper attention as well as unsafe speed also contribute. In addition, accidents occur when snowmobile drivers do not follow posted signs.
Common snowmobile accident conditions
Most incidents occur during periods of low visibility, such as those between sunset and sunrise or from eight in the evening until three in the morning, or when it is foggy or snowing heavily. In addition, operators typically drink more heavily after dark.
Operators were safer on groomed trails, where a fraction of accidents occur. In these areas, maintenance teams remove most obstacles, including trees and large rocks. However, those who do not follow designated trails place themselves in greater danger of an accident.
Snowmobile operators should take a safety course prior to taking a ride. They should also use appropriate safety gear, including a helmet and goggles; remain alert; drive at safe speeds; leave the alcohol at home and stay on marked trials to prevent accidents.