Steps to Take to Prepare for a Safe Snowmobile Outing - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers

Steps to Take to Prepare for a Safe Snowmobile Outing


According to the Ontario Provincial Police, there have already been seven fatal snowmobile-related accidents since the start of this season. Although snowmobiling can be a dangerous activity, it can also create a safe, enjoyable activity for the family if the proper precautions and laws are followed.

Essential checks before you go out

There are several ways to prepare your snowmobile for an outing before you ever leave your house. Do a maintenance check on your vehicle. Make sure the spark plugs are in good condition and the lights are working properly. Check your engine fluids and make sure the skis are in good condition and tightly attached. Make sure your gas tank is filled with fuel and check the weather forecast before you leave. Wind chills at or below -25°C can lead to frostbite or hypothermia. Dress appropriately, be sure someone knows where you plan to go, and never travel alone.

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation recommends packing a snowmobile survival kit that includes a first aid kit, GPS unit, matches, knife, ice pick, flashlight, whistle, energy-sustaining foods such as granola bars or trail mix, and an extra set of dry clothes. They also recommend carrying a snowmobile mechanical kit that includes spark plugs and drive belt, tow rope, screwdriver, hammer, wrenches, and the owner’s manual.

Check out the legal authorization

Preparing your snowmobile for an outing is only one of the steps. Being sure that you are legally authorized to operate a snowmobile is another necessary step. Snowmobile drivers in Ontario are required to be at least 12 years old, have a valid driver’s license or a motorized snow vehicle operator’s license (MSVOL), register the snowmobile with the Ministry of Transportation, and have insurance. Any individual that is 12 years of age or older that doesn’t have a driver’s license can obtain an MSVOL to operate a snowmobile on trails. Individuals operating a snowmobile are required to carry a driver’s license or MSVOL, registration permit, and insurance card at all times. Failing to be able to produce any of those documents to officials could result in a fine up to $1,000.

Where can you ride snowmobiles?

Snowmobiles may only be operated on your own private property, on someone else’s private property with their permission, trails that belong to an organization to which you are a member, and alongside public highways unless prohibited by the city in which you are riding. It is against the law to ride without a helmet and you are required to follow the speed limits based on the area in which you are riding. It is strictly prohibited to operate a snowmobile while under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, and even some prescription and over-the-counter medications that may impact your ability to safely drive.

While operating your snowmobile, be sure to stay on the trail and follow all posted signs. Be smart about where and when you ride and be sure that the visibility in the area allows for a safe riding experience. Spread out away from other snowmobiles, use proper hand signals, and be vigilant in watching the surroundings around you. Know your abilities and the abilities of the snowmobile you are riding and don’t push past those limits and use extra caution while riding at night.

Snowmobiling can be an enjoyable and safe experience if the proper precautions are followed before and during your trip. Be sure you follow all requirements of the law and be respectful of the safety requirements of the time and place in which you are riding.

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