Snowmobile safety includes staying warm and safe from frostbite as well as being prepared in the case of an accident. Safety gear starts with full body protection and helmets (see Part 1), but it doesn’t stop there.
Eye and Face Protection
Depending on the helmet style you choose, you may want to use added goggles or sunglasses for eye protection. Be sure to choose ones with colored lenses that will help reveal dangerous depressions you wouldn’t otherwise see in the snow, depending on the light conditions. If you choose anything but a full-faced helmet, you’ll want to wear a facemask too, especially on very cold days. Balaclava face masks are more comfortable and less bulky than knit ones.
It’s a good idea to keep a check sheet handy with all the must-have items you want to have along on a snowmobile trip. For starters, include items like your driver’s license, money, insurance forms, cell phone or satellite phone, snowmobile safety certification, any critical medications, water, and protein-rich snacks. Make sure your phone’s battery is charged, and make sure to keep it warm and turned off, when not in use. You should also carry safety equipment such as a compass, map, waterproof matches or fire starter, flashlight, and extra ignition key.
Some snowmobilers also bring a GPS with extra batteries and a small shovel, along with an avalanche beacon and probe. Strobe lights or flares (again, with extra batteries) can be helpful in case of an emergency. If traveling over frozen water, an ice pick fastened to a cord should be threaded through the sleeves of your jacket. Snowmobile manufacturers often attach tool kits under the hood or the seat; tool kits should include the following: wrenches, a spark plug wrench, screwdrivers, and a strap for emergency starting. Make sure a spare drive belt and spare spark plugs are always handy, too, in case you need to perform those dreaded on-trail repairs.
Whether you choose a commercially made kit or assemble your own, be sure your emergency kit is something you can easily carry on your snowmobile, and that it includes basic items that may be needed in case of an injury. Consider including bandages, compresses, gauze, adhesive tape, a knife or scissors, alcohol wipes, antibiotic ointment, and a thermal/space blanket, all in a waterproof container.
While protecting your body is, of course, far more important, you also want to protect your sled and your financial assets. The average retail price of a new snowmobile is upward of $8,000, and then there’s bodily harm or damage to another sled or property to consider. Yes, it’s true that not all snowmobilers have insurance, and no law requires it. But there are plenty of other safeguards you probably take that aren’t legally required. Contrary to what some people think, if you opt for strictly liability coverage, snowmobile insurance can cost as little as $10 per month; many snowmobile insurance packages which offer more complete coverage average $300 – $400 per year — not much at all to pay for peace of mind, let alone potential repairs for your snowmobile, medical expenses for you or a passenger, or possible property damage.
The Nicholas Insurance Agency, led by Greg Nicholas, is a family owned business serving the York county, Pennsylvania region. In the insurance business since 1981, Greg Nicholas helps families, businesses and individuals understand the value of different insurance products and make wise decisions when selecting the best insurance products for their specific situations.
Offering exclusively Allstate insurance products, the Nicholas Agency provides auto, homeowners, rental and landlord insurance as well as life & disability, recreational vehicle, motorcycle and personal liability insurance.
For more information, visit our two York, PA locations at Westgate Plaza or York Marketplace or call us at (717) 764-2024.
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