Ways to be safe on snowmobile trails

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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - This past weekend's steady snowfall combined with colder temperatures is the perfect backdrop for snowmobile enthusiasts in Michigan.

However, AAA wants to remind all snowmobilers to take extra care when hitting the trails.

“It’s been a more traditionally snowy winter in Michigan this year. The recent snowfall provides perfect conditions for enjoying outdoor activities, but it’s important to keep safety in mind,” said Susan Hiltz, Michigan public affairs director. “AAA urges snowmobilers to remember the rules of the road this winter. By exercising more caution, crashes and fatalities can be prevented on the roads and trails of our great state’s winter wonderland.”

AAA Michigan offers these Top Ten Tips for Safe Snowmobiling:

1. Watch the weather and check trail conditions before riding
a. Don't ride in adverse weather conditions. Plan your trip and check the trails you'll be riding prior to departure.
2. Dress for safety and survival
b. Always wear insulated boots and protective clothing including a helmet, gloves and eye protection.
3. Keep your machine in top mechanical condition.
4. Always ride safe and sober
c. Alcohol and other drugs have a negative effect on driver vision, balance, coordination, and reaction time. Never ride with someone who has been drinking.
5. Always ride with a friend or fellow snowmobiler
d. If there is an emergency or mechanical breakdown you have a way to get help.
6. Slow down
e. Excessive speed is a major factor in many crashes, especially at night. To help avoid crashes, keep night time speed under 40 MPH.
7. Use extreme caution riding on ice
f. It is safest to avoid riding on lakes and rivers. If you must ride on ice, wear a life jacket over your outer clothing. Stay on the marked trail and stay off of ice that has moving water (current) near or under it. Ice in these areas may be thin and weak.
8. Never operate on a street or highway
g. Avoid driving too close to automobile traffic. Snowmobiles are small and not always visible to larger vehicles, particularly in the snow.
9. Stay to the right
h. Most trails are two-way. Stay to the far right of the trail, especially on hills and corners. Obey all trail signs and cross roadways with extreme caution. Keep headlights and tail lights on at all times.
10. Approach intersections cautiously
i. Come to a complete stop, raise off the seat and look for traffic.