Snow. As adults we often grumble about the snow and its ability to complicate things. However, if you’re a snowmobiler snow storms are a cause for celebration. With fresh snow on the ground, and plenty of winter still remaining we just wanted to take a moment to remind you to practice safe snowmobiling habits.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has wonderful information available to riders and a useful reference guide that covers topics from safe riding to registration of your snowmobile. Here are some safety tips from the Iowa DNR that bear repeating.
- Know your riding skills and capabilities. Do not try to ride beyond your skill level.
- Do not ride machines that are too large or too powerful for you or that you cannot control.
- Your snowmobile is a powerful machine, but with proper supervision, training, experience, and using good judgment, riding a snowmobile can be a safe and enjoyable recreational experience.
- Know how to operate your snowmobile in a variety of weather, trail, and operating conditions.
- Recognize hazardous riding conditions and make good decisions based upon this information.
- Know how to dress safely to snowmobile. Always wear a DOT approved helmet, layer clothing, and wear durable and waterproof outer shell, gloves, and footwear.
- Recognize and ignore negative peer pressure. Stay safe.
- Reducing risk is a choice. Practice safe decision making.
- Know how to read maps and use a compass or GPS unit.
- NEVER use drugs or alcohol while riding.
- Always stay on marked and defined trails.
- Know the laws and regulations governing snowmobiling where you ride and where you travel to ride.
- Do not ride in areas without landowner permission.
- Adult supervision is needed for young riders.
- Never ride alone.
- The safest snowmobiling rule is to never cross lakes or rivers since it can never be guaranteed that ice of any thickness will support a snowmobile. Ice is always dangerous. Do not venture out onto lakes or rivers unless you are absolutely certain that it is safe.
Another item of note: beginning in 2012 off-road utility vehicle (OHVs) in Iowa are now required to carry proof of insurance coverage when operating on a highway. “Highway” is legally defined as the area fence-line to fence-line. Previously, OHVs were exempt from carrying proof of insurance, now only certain OHVs used for agricultural purposes are exempt.
Make sure your snowmobile is insured correctly before you hit the trails. Give our office a call to discuss your coverage.
**State laws vary from state to state, make sure you do your homework before your trip. **