When it snows, a lot of us can’t wait to get on our snowmobiles and hit the trails. Snowmobiling can be a great time, but it can also be very dangerous.

Before you ride, make sure you are prepared and safe.

First, make sure your snowmobile is in good mechanical condition. Know your snowmobile inside and out. Check your belt and spark plugs and carry a spare of each.

You should stay informed by checking the weather conditions and forecast before you ride. Always carry a trail map. It will come in handy in the event you become lost.

Always use a helmet, goggles, or a face shield to prevent injuries that could be caused by flying debris, ice chips, stones or twigs. Clothing you wear should be designed for snowmobiling and should not be loose. Loose clothes can easily be caught in a snowmobile and cause an accident.

Make sure you always ride with a partner or group. Never ride alone or unaccompanied. This will ensure that you have someone to help you if you get stuck or need help. Leave a note behind with your riding plan and phone numbers, to help in case of an emergency.

Some people choose to go snowmobiling after they’ve had a few alcoholic beverages … never drink alcohol or take drugs before or during a snowmobile ride. If you are under the influence while riding, you greatly increase the chance of being injured or killed.

When riding, stay on marked trails and routes. Don’t cut corners because you may be trespassing on private property. Always follow stop signs and other posted signs.

Make sure you slow down, and stay to the right side of the trail, when approaching oncoming snowmobiles.

It is very important that you check with local sources regarding ice conditions before you cross a body of water. If the ice looks thin, or unstable, do not cross. Avoid crossing ice at night, if possible.

Snowmobile safety courses are available in most states. Knowledge gained during these courses can help you in dangerous situations, and also help you become a better rider.

Following these tips will help keep you safe while snowmobiling. Enjoy yourself while on the trails and have a great riding season.

If you’ve been injured in a snowmobile accident, by no fault of your own, call Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678 or visit Hupy.com.