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Published November 30, 2011, 08:49 PM

Tips For Safer Snowmobiling

Another snowmobile season is fast approaching, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is encouraging snowmobilers to get the season off to a smooth, safe start.

By: MN DNR,

Another snowmobile season is fast approaching, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is encouraging snowmobilers to get the season off to a smooth, safe start.

“I want people to take advantage of the snowmobiling opportunities that exist in Minnesota, so now is the time to prepare your sled and learn how to avoid the possible dangers that are present when snowmobiling,” said Captain Mike Hammer, DNR Enforcement Education Program Coordinator.

Last season there were 13 snowmobile related fatalities and numerous injuries in Minnesota. Hammer feels all these incidents were preventable.

DNR officials say riding snowmobiles can be a safe and enjoyable form of outdoor recreation when you follow some basic safety rules:

- Maximum speed in Minnesota is 50 mph. Many times trail conditions or riding at night require slower speeds.

- Stay away from alcohol; it’s a major factor in most accidents.

- Be cautious of hidden ditch dangers, These include sign posts, fence posts, guy wires, stumps, rocks, telephone and cable boxes, culverts, left over construction materials. Fresh snow and low light condition make these hazards difficult to see.

- SLOW DOWN, especially at night. At speeds of 40 MPH or greater you are over-riding your headlight and won’t see a hazard in time to stop.

- Display current snowmobile registration.

- Stay off the roadway, shoulder, and inside slope of state and county highways.

- Operate your snowmobile in the same direction as highway traffic when riding one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise.

- Stay off the median of four-lane highways.

- Check the weather conditions before heading out.

- Come to a complete stop and look both ways before crossing any roadway

and cross at a 90-degree angle.

- Stay on marked trails; Traveling into the unknown has many risks.

- Remember, ice is NEVER SAFE.

- Never ride alone.

- Be respectful the landowners who provide most of our riding opportunities by staying on designated trails.

Most Important: Take a Safety Training Course. To legally ride a snowmobile, residents born after Dec. 31, 1976 need a valid snowmobile safety certificate in their possession, or snowmobile safety certificate indicator on their driver’s license or on their Minnesota ID card.

For a copy of DNR’s 2011-2012 Minnesota Snowmobile Safety Laws, Rules, and Regulations handbook, and Safety Training Information call 888-MINNDNR (outstate) or 651-296-6157.

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