DNR offers tips for safer snowmobiling
With another snowmobile season upon us, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is encouraging snowmobilers to get this season off to a smooth and safe start.
DNR officials say riding snowmobiles can be an enjoyable form of outdoor recreation when following the rules of the road and trail:
take a safety training course; to legally ride a snowmobile, residents born after Dec. 31, 1976 need a valid snowmobile safety certificate
maximum speed in Minnesota is 50 mph; many times trail conditions or riding at night require slower speeds
stay away from alcohol; it's a major factor in most accidents
be cautious of hidden dangers, especially when operating in a road right-of-way; this includes silt fences, soil stockpiles, pieces of unused concrete culverts, wooden survey stakes and steel right of way markers may remain during the winter months after construction activity ceases; watch for sedimentation ponds, brush piles and scattered rocks and boulders that may be obscured by fallen snow
slow down, especially at night, over-riding your headlight is another major cause of accidents
display current snowmobile registration
stay off the roadway, shoulder, and slope of state and county highways
operate your snowmobile in the same direction as highway traffic when riding one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise
stay off the median of four-lane highways
come to a complete stop and look both ways before crossing a public roadway
cross public roadways at a 90-degree angle
check local ordinances on when and where you may ride
stay on marked trails; the future of our trail system depends on it
a person under the age of 14, without a snowmobile safety certificate, may operate a snowmobile when supervised or accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or other person 18 years of age or older designated by the parent or guardian
remember, ice is never safe
never ride alone
make sure your machine is in proper operating condition
join a snowmobile club.
For a copy of DNR's 2008-2009 Minnesota Snowmobile Safety Laws, Rules, and Regulations handbook, call 651-296-6157 or toll-free 888-MINNDNR (646-6367).