Snowmobiling is a great way to keep active when cold winter weather forces us to store away our bicycles, motorcycles and watercraft for the year. However, the very things that make snowmobiling so appealing such as high speeds and extreme winter conditions are what also make it a fairly dangerous pastime.
Studies from the last decade indicate that snowmobile accidents cause 14,000 injuries and 200 deaths per year. While Speed and operator inattention was sited as the cause of most, nearly 70 percent of fatal accidents involved alcohol and was likely a contributing factor. That’s why a clear head with the know-how to operate a snowmobile properly is the most fundamental part of safety on the trails. So here are some facts and figures from the personal injury attorneys at Hupy and Abraham, to help make your riding season a little safer.
Six Snowmobiling Safety Facts:
- A snowmobile can weigh up to 600 pounds and can travel at speeds in excess of 90 mph.
- A snowmobile moves at 131 feet per second. So at 90 mph with a standard reaction time of 1.5 seconds, your sled will travel 195 feet before coming to a stop.
- A large number of snowmobile fatalities are due to drowning while riding across frozen lakes and rivers.
- Youth snowmobile-related injuries are often a result of risk-taking behavior of the parent, such as excessive speed, alcohol use and nighttime driving.
- Males 16 and younger are more than three times as likely as females of the same age to sustain a snowmobile-related injury.
- About 40 percent of reported fatalities result from colliding with trees, wires, bridges and other vehicles.
Ways to ride safely:
- With a passenger – Speed is very important when riding with a passenger. The operator should remind passengers to keep their feet flat on the running boards. And similar to co-riding a motorcycle, instruct them to hold firmly to handgrips and to lean into the turns.
- In a group – Many snowmobile injuries and fatalities occur when a rider falls from the vehicle and is struck by a rider following too closely behind them. So when riding in a group, always travel single file and leave a safe and substantial distance.
- At night – Visibility is going to be low, especially on remote trails where there isn’t any street lighting. So make sure your headlights, taillights and brake lights are functional and drive at safe speeds.
- Alone – Snowmobiling alone is rarely recommended, especially when done in remote areas or significantly cold or snowy weather. But if you choose to ride alone, be sure to let someone know where you are headed and when you’ll be back. When traveling alone, always be sure to carry a first-aid kit.
While personal safety is one of the most important factors when snowmobiling, the dangerous actions of others also cause preventable injuries and fatalities. So when a snowmobile rider is injured by someone taking unnecessary risks, they have a right to collect damages. At Hupy and Abraham, you’ll find attorneys knowledgeable about snowmobile riding accidents who can help determine whether you have suffered because of the negligence of another.If you have been injured in a snowmobiling accident, contact the personal injury experts at Hupy and Abraham for a free, no-obligation consultation. Call 800-800-5678 or start a live chat with us anytime at Hupy.com.