Snowmobiling is a popular winter activity that many people enjoy. It allows for an exciting and unique way to explore the great outdoors and experience the thrill of speeding through snow-covered landscapes.
However, it’s essential to remember that snowmobiling can be dangerous and requires proper safety precautions. In recognition, the National Safety Council (NSC) designated January week following the 3rd Saturday of the month as Snowmobile Safety and Awareness Week.
Even a professional driver, Ken Block, was recently killed in a Snowmobile accident, making this all the more timely.
This article will overview the week, highlight some important safety tips, and discuss how a personal safety panic button can help snowmobile riders stay safe on the slopes.
When is Snowmobile Safety and Awareness Week Celebrated?
The NSC has designated the third week of January as Snowmobile Safety and Awareness Week. The exact dates for the week vary from year to year, but it typically falls between the 15th and 21st of January. The week is designed to raise awareness about snowmobile safety and encourage riders to take the necessary precautions to stay safe on the slopes.
Snowmobiling Safety Risks
According to the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association (ISMA), there were an estimated 6.2 million snowmobiles in use in North America in 2020, with an estimated 16.4 million people participating in the sport. However, with this popularity comes the risk of accidents and injuries. A survey conducted by the ISMA in 2020 found that the leading cause of snowmobile accidents is operator error, such as excessive speed, lack of proper training, and alcohol or drug use.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported that in 2019, there were 7,100 snowmobile-related injuries and 300 snowmobile-related deaths in the United States alone. This means snowmobiling is considered one of the most dangerous winter sports.
In addition to the risk of accidents and injuries, snowmobiling can also impact the environment. The ISMA survey found that improper trail use and lack of trail maintenance can damage the natural environment, including erosion and destruction of wildlife habitats.
It is crucial for snowmobile riders to be aware of these risks and to minimize them by following proper safety guidelines, taking a safety course, and always wearing appropriate protective gear. Additionally, it is vital to be aware of and respect the rights of others when on the trails, including staying on designated trails, yielding to other users, and avoiding disturbing wildlife.
Snowmobile Safety Tips
Snowmobiling can be fun and exciting, but it is essential to be aware of safety precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Some essential safety tips include:
Wear Proper Safety Gear
One of the most important things you can do to stay safe while snowmobiling is to wear proper safety gear. This includes a helmet, goggles, gloves, boots, and warm clothing. Wearing a helmet can significantly reduce the risk of head injury in a crash. Goggles and glasses protect your eyes from glare, wind, and flying debris. Gloves, boots, and warm clothing will help keep you warm and protect you from the elements.
Take a Safety Training Course
Another important step to staying safe while snowmobiling is to take a safety training course. These courses are designed to teach you the basics of snowmobile operation and important safety tips and techniques. Many states require snowmobile riders to take a safety course before operating a snowmobile.
Stay Alert and Avoid Distractions
When operating a snowmobile, it’s important to stay alert and avoid distractions. This means not using your cell phone, listening to music, or engaging in other activities that could distract your attention from the task. Snowmobiling can be dangerous, and it’s important to stay focused on the road and be aware of your surroundings.
Know the Snowmobile Laws and Regulations
Knowing the laws and regulations regarding snowmobiling in your area is also essential. This includes knowing the speed limits, trail rules, and other applicable regulations. Following the rules will help ensure your safety and the safety of others.
Check the Weather and Trail Conditions
Before heading out on a snowmobile ride, it’s important to check the weather and trail conditions. This will help you plan accordingly and ensure that you’re prepared for any conditions you may encounter.
Never Ride Under the Influence
It’s also essential to never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Doing so impairs your judgment and increases the risk of an accident.
How Can A Personal Safety Device Help Snowmobilers?
A personal safety device, such as Silent Beacon’s panic button, is a small device that can be worn by the rider to alert emergency services in the event of an accident or emergency. It helps snowmobiling riders in several ways.
A snowmobile panic button can immediately assist a snowmobile rider in an emergency. When activated, it sends an emergency signal to designated emergency contacts, alerting them to the rider’s location and that they need assistance. This can be especially useful in remote or isolated areas where traditional methods of calling for help may be limited.
Many personal safety panic buttons include GPS tracking capabilities. This feature can be beneficial if the rider gets lost or stranded, allowing emergency responders to locate the rider and provide assistance quickly. It also allows family or friends to keep track of the rider’s location and ensure they are safe.
Some devices may have a two-way voice communication feature which allows the emergency contact to communicate with the rider and assess the situation. This can be helpful in situations where the rider is disoriented or unable to communicate their exact location or condition. It also allows emergency contacts to give appropriate instructions and guidance.
Durability and Portability
Personal safety panic buttons are generally designed to be durable and portable. They can be worn on a person or attached to the snowmobile, making them easy to carry around and access in an emergency. This allows the rider to have quick access to help in an emergency without worrying about carrying a bulky device.
It is important to note that a personal safety panic button is not a substitute for proper safety training, following proper snowmobile usage guidelines, and always letting someone know your route and expected return time.