Important Precautions To Save Your Life…

How to reduce snowmobiling risks while trail riding

Photo © 2018 by Craig Nicholson

Related: Thinking Like Pros


What’s the point of trying to reduce snowmobiling risks? No matter how you ride, snowmobiling poses certain inherent threats. Why? Because it occurs in an unpredictable and uncontrollable natural setting far away from civilization and emergency assistance.

That said, 99.9% of snowmobilers return home safely after each ride. No matter what your riding style, ensure you continue to be one of the returnees by taking the following basic precautions…

Reduce Snowmobiling Risks Before The Ride

Be Seen

Reduce snowmobiling risks by being extra bright. Photo © by Craig Nicholson.

It’s important that others see you clearly, so enhance your visibility by wearing a brightly coloured snowmobile jacket with lots of reflective material, like my FXR Team FX jacket. The best options are hi-vis yellow or blaze orange, but bright red is also good. Same goes for your helmet. Just ask your buddies what is easier to follow at night or in snow dust: black or a bright colour?

But the best bet for being seen by those following, nothing beats a rear helmet light. A few helmets have integrated rear lights, like the Ski Doo Oxygen. Alternatively, get yourself a Bite Harder Helmet Safety Light. In fact, these LED lights are so inexpensive and easy to instal that everyone in your riding group should have one!

Wear Protective Vest

reduce snowmobiling risks body armour

TrailMaster TekVest

If you do get into an impact situation, wearing body armour such as a TekVest under your jacket could save your life. Besides, it adds a layer of warmth and maybe a little buoyancy too. I’ve worn a TekVest for years and it’s very comfortable. So take a tip from professional racers: never go snowmobiling without one!

Get Traction

reduce snowmobiling risks with Woody's studs

Photo © by Craig Nicholson

Traction products won’t do much in deep snow. But when your track suddenly encounters ice, studs can make the difference to staying in control or not. Think an unexpected slippery corner, an icy slope, glare ice on a lake, or any other scenario where the surprise of a spinning or side-slipping track threatens your well-being. They also help you stop faster with better control. Studs give you that little extra edge when you most need it.

Meanwhile, don’t forget your front end traction. Sharp carbides enhance steering, handling & cornering. So if their edge is gone, either buy new carbides or sharpen them. I start every new season with new carbides and I’ve enjoyed greater peace of mind over many thousands of kilometres thanks to with Woody’s Traction products.

Ride Clean

Every fatality statistic clearly shows that the riskiest thing you can do while snowmobiling is consume alcohol or drugs. Riding requires constant vigilance, intense concentration and quick reactions. All of these suffer from consumption of alcohol or drugs. So you can reduce snowmobiling risks substantially by refraining from consumption until each day’s ride is over and the sleds are put to bed.

Reduce Snowmobiling Risks During Ride

Carry SPOT X

reduce snowmobiling risks with SPOT X
SPOT X is a next generation, 2-Way Satellite Messenger that allows riders to stay connected and communicate messages back & forth beyond cellular range. It works anywhere to send an emergency distress signal to search & rescue services, family and friends with your GPS coordinates and to receive message replies. With SPOT X, you can also check in to say you are okay and track your daily progress.

SPOT X does not provide voice communication, like my Globalstar Satellite Phone. But the proven durability, reliability and ease of use of previous models make SPOT a very cost-effective way to reduce snowmobiling risks in the great outdoors. Check out the Bluetooth enabled model now available.

ICE Your Phone

ICE (In Case of Emergency) is a method of contact during emergency situations. Just store the number of a contact person or persons that should be contacted during emergency under the name ‘ICE’ in your cell phone. In an urgent situation, emergency services personnel and hospital staff would then be able to quickly contact the right person. Simply by dialling the number you have stored as ‘ICE.’ For more than one contact name, simply enter ICE1, ICE2 and ICE3 etc. Now we can all ride with much greater peace of mind!

Use Medical Data Carrier

reduce snowmobiling risks with Medical Data Carrier
Medical Data Carrier is a waterproof sleeve that sticks to the side of your helmet. Inside, there’s a special synthetic material. On it, you can write all of your medical and prescription information and contacts. In the event of a trail emergency involving injury, Medical Data Carrier provides first responders with everything needed. Then they can start treatment as quickly and safely as possible. This is especially important if you are unable to communicate and no one else on scene knows your personal details.

My Last Word

You’ll notice that all of the precautions noted above have nothing to do with changing the way you actually ride. And that’s deliberate. We each choose the riding style that works for us and may not wish to change it. If you do, why not try riding like a pro?

Regardless, we’d be fools not to take sensible precautions without limiting our fun. Especially if you’re an inexperienced newbie whose already looked at my beginners tips. So before you ride again, why not take a moment to seriously consider what you should do to reduce snowmobiling risks?

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The tips and advice in this blog are the opinions of the author, may not work in every situation and are intended only for the convenience and interest of the reader, who has the personal responsibility to confirm the validity, accuracy and relevancy of this information prior to putting it to their own use.