Snowmobile crashed into tree

Speed and Careless Operation

Excessive speed is a leading cause of snowmobile crashes. While a burst of speed on a snowmobile can be exhilarating, make good choices to ensure you're in an appropriate location and in full control of your snowmobile at all times. Avoid putting yourself in danger by keeping your speed reasonable at all times for the conditions and locations you're riding in. Your speed should be slow enough to be able to safely respond to changing trail or terrain conditions, and should be reduced when visibility is poor or you are unfamiliar with the area. Never exceed posted speed limits on trails or roads, including those posted for roadways when you're operating in a road ditch.

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Speed and Careless Operation

Snowmobile safety poster regarding night driving
Speed related crashes often occur at night because you can easily overdrive your snowmobile's headlight since it only illuminates about 200 feet in front of your snowmobile. Therefore, be aware that if you're driving faster than about 45 miles per hour at night, you're likely going fast enough to pass through the area illuminated by your headlight before you can react and safely stop. Reduce the risk of danger by always reducing your speed at night!

Excessive speed can also be dangerous whenever operating a snowmobile where other motor vehicles may be present, such as at road crossings, on legally open roadways, and in road right-of-ways. Always give motor vehicles plenty of space for your safety, as well as the safety of others.

Snowmobile safety poster regarding night driving
Keep right while snowmobiling on trails
Careless or reckless operation is another leading cause of snowmobile crashes. Stay safe and out of danger by avoiding reckless operation of your snowmobile. Careless riding habits include:
  • Riding on the wrong side of the trail
  • Hugging the inside corners on curves
  • Approaching blind hills at excessive speeds
  • Passing on corners and blind hills
  • Riding too fast in foggy or snowy conditions
  • Riding your snowmobile on roads or in areas where snowmobiling is prohibited
  • Following other snowmobiles too closely
  • Overriding your headlight
  • Speeding, particularly when near nonmotorized trail users, pedestrians including people standing next to a parked snowmobile or ice fishermen, parking areas, buildings, livestock, or wildlife
  • Failing to obey signs and regulations
Always ride defensively, anticipating that you could potentially encounter a careless driver or another hazard at any time.