Injury prevention tips for a safe snowmobile season

January 26, 2018

From December 2016 to date, there have been 19 snowmobile related crashes that were treated at London Health Sciences Centre. Less than half of these cases were wearing helmets.

Whether you ride a snowmobile to get around town or for recreation, the risks of operating a snowmobile are the same. Snowmobiling can be fun but it can also be very dangerous, especially for children. Many children are seriously injured each year, sometimes fatally, from operating or riding on a snowmobile. Of the above 19 snowmobile related crash cases treated at LHSC, three involved children who required care in the paediatric emergency department.

The theme of the safety week each year is “you make snowmobiling safe”. The following tips can help ensure that you are a safe rider.

  • Every rider should wear a snowmobile helmet on every trip
  • Drivers should have a valid driver’s license or a motorized snow vehicle license 
  • Children under age six should not ride as passengers on snowmobiles
  • Children under the age of 16 should not drive a snowmobile
  • Ride on trails that enforce rules and promote safe driving
  • Be aware of your surroundings and use extra caution around any bodies of water 
  • Never tow a person behind a snowmobile
  • Don’t drive while under the influence: impaired snowmobile driving carries the same penalties as operating a car while impaired
  • Know and adhere to the speed limit
    • The speed limit on designated trails is 50 km/hour unless otherwise posted
    • If the posted speed limit for vehicles is 50 km/hour, then the limit for snowmobiles is 20 km/hour
    • If the posted speed limit for vehicles is 80 km/hour, then the limit for snowmobiles is 50 km/hour

The injury prevention team at LHSC reminds everyone to ride safe and wear protective gear while operating or riding a snowmobile.