Oneida, NY – Major Rodney W. Campbell, Troop D Commander, would like to remind snowmobile operators of the need to use caution when riding this winter. Please follow these tips for safe and enjoyable snowmobile operation:
· Never Consume Alcohol or Drugs – Drinking alcohol before or during snowmobiling can impair judgement and slow reaction time. Snowmobilers who have been drinking often drive too fast. Alcohol also causes body temperature to drop at an accelerated rate, which increases the likelihood of hypothermia. Alcohol has been shown to be a contributing factor in most fatal snowmobile crashes.
· Slow Down – Speed is a contributing factor in nearly all fatal snowmobiling crashes. Drivers should proceed at a pace that will allow ample reaction time for any situation. Drive at moderate speeds, and drive defensively, especially after sunset. Use caution on curves and approaching hill crests.
· Carry a First-Aid Kit – Flashlight, knife, cell phone, hand held GPS unit or compass, map and waterproof matches.
· Avoid traveling Across Bodies of Water – If you do ride across bodies of water, consider wearing a modern flotation suit and equipping yourself with ice picks or awls attached to your suit which could assist in pulling yourself from the water.
· Always wear a helmet with goggles or a face shield to prevent injuries – Helmets should be DOT or SNELL approved. Dress appropriately, wear layers of water-repellent clothing and make sure you have no loose ends that could get caught in the machine or tangle in equipment.
· Stay on Designated Trails – stay to the right side of trails, – where allowed, on the right shoulder of the road. Be alert for fences, tree stumps and stretched wire that may be concealed by snow. Do not trespass. When crossing roadways use extreme caution. Snowmobiles are often difficult for other highway users to see.
· Never Travel Alone – Most snowmobile crashes result in personal injury. The most dangerous situations occur when a person is injured and alone. If you must travel alone, tell someone your destination, planned route, and when you will return.
“It’s tragic and unnecessary, but someone we know will likely die or be unnecessarily injured for not following these safety tips. It really is a matter of life and death,” Campbell said.
For more information on snowmobile laws and regulations, contact the New York State Police at 315-366-6032 or visit the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation website at nysparks.com/recreation/snowmobiles/