Snowmobile Etiquette: The Ways of the Trail
If you live in Wisconsin, or another northern US state where heavy snowfall is the norm, then you know the season for playing in this winter wonderland is rapidly approaching. Before long, it will be heavy coats, gloves, shovels, and of course, snowmobile rides. Whether those snowmobile rides are for work or pleasure may depend on the day, but regardless of the reason, there are “rules of the road” that need to be observed so that everyone gets to their destination safely.
More important than simply being a courteous rider, is being a safe rider. Never leave your property without first being sure that your snowmobile is ready to go. Take a few minutes to ensure the battery is fully charged, that you have plenty of gas and that all fluids are topped off. Save some time by having the oil and fluids you need readily available by contacting The House of Syn, your local AMSOIL dealer, to get everything you need to keep your snowmobile ready to ride.
Beyond ensuring the snowmobile’s engine is ready to go, endeavor not to go snowmobiling alone. You can’t plan for unexpected mishaps and having someone to help-in whatever fashioned need- can make a big difference! You should also be sure to have a fully charged cell phone, a functioning GPS messenger, or, if a remote area, a sat phone so you can reach out in an emergency.
Other safety measures include dressing appropriately by wearing layers, having cold-weather-rated gloves, socks, and boots, and having a helmet and goggles.
Snowmobile Etiquette: Rules of Riding
- Don’t drink and drive. It’s not new information, but that doesn’t lessen its importance.
- Always ride to the right of the trail; always assume that another snowmobiler is coming over the next hill or around the next curve, and be sure to leave plenty of room. You should also yield right of way to skiers, hikers, snowshoers, dogsledders, horseback riders, and sleigh drivers.
- If you see a trail groomer, they always have the right of way. Be courteous, it’s because of them you can ride many of the trails.
- When you are traveling downhill, uphill riders always have the right of way.
- Slow down when passing a parked snowmobile.
- Learn the hand signals and use them when riding so other drivers know what to expect. The only time it is ok not to use a hand signal is if in doing so you risk losing control of the snowmobile.
- Don’t trespass! If the land you are riding on is closed or marked private, then stay out. Trespassing is one of the major complaints regarding snowmobilers.
- If riding in a group, let faster drivers pass.
- Stay off the ice; snowmobiling in areas designated for ice-skating or fishing is just rude and inconsiderate.
- Know what hunting season it is. Often, snowmobiling is not allowed on specific days or timeframes.
- Should you need to park your snowmobile in a public lot, pay attention to all the activities. Depending on how busy the space is, you can encounter people on foot, animals, and of course, other snowmobilers. Also, when parking, do so in a way to allow optimum space for other rigs.
Riding a snowmobile is a great way to explore the woods or simply make a quick trip to your neighbor’s place. But don’t overlook the importance of safety, courtesy, and respecting another’s property. By keeping these tips in mind, snowmobiling can be one of the best parts of winter!