Gov. Mark Dayton with the support of the DNR and the Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association (MnUSA) has proclaimed Jan. 13-19 as Snowmobile Safety Awareness Week in Minnesota.
To legally ride a snowmobile in Minnesota, residents born after Dec. 31, 1976, need a valid snowmobile safety certificate.
DNR and MnUSA also remind snowmobilers of a few basic safety tips:
DON’T DRINK –
Drinking alcohol before or during snowmobiling can impair judgment and slow reaction time.
SLOW DOWN – Speed is a contributing factor in nearly all fatal snowmobiling accidents. Remember, when driving at night the DNR recommends a speed of only 40 miles an hour.
BE PREPARED – When traveling, make sure to bring a first aid kit, a flashlight, waterproof matches, and a compass.
STAY ALERT – Fatigue can reduce the driver’s coordination and judgment.
ICE ADVICE – Avoid traveling across bodies of water when uncertain of ice thickness and strength of ice on lakes and ponds. Snow cover can act as a blanket and prevent safe ice from forming. Never travel in a single file when crossing bodies of water.
DRESS FOR SUCCESS – Use a full-size helmet, goggles or face shield to prevent injuries from twigs, stones, ice and flying debris.
WATCH THE WEATHER – Rapid weather changes can produce dangerous conditions.
BRING A BUDDY – Never travel alone. Most snowmobile accidents result in some personal injury. The most dangerous situations can occur if a person is injured and alone. If snowmobilers must travel alone, they should inform someone of their destination, planned route, and return time.
REPORT ACCIDENTS – The operator of a snowmobile involved in an accident resulting in medical attention, death, or damage exceeding $500 must file an official accident report through the county sheriff’s office within 10 days.
For a copy of DNR’s 2012-2013 Minnesota Snowmobile Safety Laws, Rules, and Regulations handbook, call 651-296-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367. It’s also available on DNR’s website at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/regulations/snowmobile/index.html.