The Lack of Regulations for Snowmobiles Increases the Chance of Injury
Causes of Snowmobile AccidentsExcess speed is the primary cause of snowmobile accidents. Alcohol use is often linked to snowmobile accidents involving excess speed. The use of alcohol impairs judgment and can lead to hypothermia during very cold weather. Night driving also contributes to snowmobile accidents. According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the majority of snowmobile accidents occur between the hours of 8 p.m. and 3 a.m. Many snowmobile accidents occur when a driver takes his or her machine onto a frozen lake and the weight of the snowmobile and the rider breaks through the ice and the driver drowns.
In general, younger drivers take greater risks when driving snowmobiles than do older drivers and many snowmobile accidents involve teenagers and even younger riders. Many young riders suffer severe head and neck injuries when their snowmobile strikes a stationary object, such as a tree or rock.
What Can be Done to Reduce Snowmobile Accidents?The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of 16 not be allowed to drive snowmobiles at all. They also recommend that all drivers and passengers be required to wear helmets, much as motorcycle riders are required to wear helmets.
In addition, the following general safety precautions are recommended for all snowmobile riders:
- Make sure that your snowmobile is adequately maintained.
- Always wear appropriate clothing and protective gear including helmets, wind visors, gloves and boots. Wear layers of clothing to keep warm.
- Keep your speed under control. Know what your limits are and what the limits of your machine are and stay within those parameters.
- Plan your route and let someone else know your route and your planned time of arrival.
- Do not use alcohol or drugs.
- Never ride alone; ride with a buddy.
- Stay on marked trails and be especially alert when crossing roads.
- Do not ride on lakes.
- Keep a first aid kit with your snowmobile.