Three Common Causes of Snowmobiling Accidents

Three Common Causes of Snowmobiling Accidents

Snowmobiling is becoming an increasingly popular activity. Enthusiasts are expanding groomed trail systems in many areas of the country where thick snow is prevalent during the winter months. Snowmobile clubs and organizations around the country are gaining interest and expanding enrollment. Unfortunately, increased popularity is often accompanied by an increase in accidents and injuries, and snowmobiling is no exception. Here we discuss three of the most common causes of snowmobiling accidents. 


Snowmobile manufacturers are continually improving speed and performance in the machines they produce. These machines are primarily targeted toward experienced riders who understand the power of the enhanced engines and are proficient at maneuvering the snowmobiles utilizing precise control systems. When an inexperienced rider attempts to handle such a machine, things can get out of control fast. The rider can quickly put themselves in a dangerous position without intending to. In the best-case scenarios, such as the incident in New Hampshire involving Scott Sandell daughter, riders escape accidents with their lives intact. However, combining a very fast machine with an inexperienced rider can result in even worse injuries and death.

Poor Judgment

A variety of scenarios caused by poor judgment can result in rider injury. Riding in areas that are unmarked or unfamiliar can lead to crashes with hidden obstacles. Choosing to ride without the proper protective equipment can result in injuries caused by exposure to the cold. Riding alone may not be the exact cause of an injury, but in the event of a breakdown, the lone rider is more susceptible to prolonged exposure and minor injuries can become major without prompt assistance. Proper protective equipment, riding in a group, and riding on familiar, marked trails are all strategies that can minimize the risk of accidents and injury.

Riding Under the Influence

Snowmobiling under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a leading cause of accidents. As is the case while operating any motorized vehicle, snowmobile riders under the influence exhibit poor judgment, increased fatigue, and slower reaction times. In most states and provinces, it is illegal to operate a snowmobile while under the influence of alcohol. These laws are put in place to protect all riders on the trails. Snowmobiles can go as fast or faster than passenger vehicles. Combining this type of speed with a rider under the influence is a dangerous combination for anyone in his or her path.

Snowmobiling can be a fun and exciting pastime for people of all ages and skill levels. Machines can be tailored to the beginner rider and expert riders can enjoy the enhanced handling of more technically-advanced options. Utilizing marked trails and riding in groups not only enhances the fun but also provides a safer experience. Choosing not to ride under the influence of drugs or alcohol is another easy way to minimize the chance of accidents and injuries. As with any activity, the more people that participate, the higher the probability is that someone will get hurt. However, minimizing these three risk factors is something any rider can do.
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