MANITOULIN – The recent accumulation of snow, colder temperatures mean that area snowmobile trails will be open for the sledding public to enjoy. The unpredictable weather has also caused the ice conditions to vary greatly from one body of water to another. The Ontario Provincial Police is reminding all snowmobile users to practice safe riding habits when using the trails this winter. Here are a few things to consider:
- Have your snowmobile checked over to be sure that it is in good working order.
- Ensure that you have the appropriate licence and that your snowmobile is insured. Purchase an OFSC trail pass for you snowmobile.
- Prepare an emergency kit for your sled that includes basic tools, a spare drive belt, spark plugs, a tow rope, trail maps, a first aid kit and a flare. A cell phone or GPS is also a good idea to have with you.
- Tell others where you are going and when you expect to return.
- Dress for the weather and always wear an approved helmet. Extra clothes and some snacks would help in case you break down.
- Ride sober—don’t ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs and make sure your buddies ride sober too.
- Use caution when heading out onto the ice—be aware and watch for thin ice. Remember, “If you don’t know—don’t go.”
- Follow the speed limits and watch for other riders and trail users.
- Ride according to the conditions especially at night. Ride at a speed that will allow you to stop safely within the distance you can see with your headlights.
- Use a little extra caution on unfamiliar trails.
The OPP urge snowmobile enthusiasts to continually consult the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) website’s Interactive Trail Guide and Trail Status Reports www.ofsc.on.ca. Ice conditions are poor in many areas, if you choose to venture out, stick to the open trails and ride with extreme caution.