Police offer snowmobile safety tips

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Snowmobiling can be a great outdoor activity but it is one that is often taken advantage of in the Peace Region.

Statistically, snowmobiling accounts for more accidents than any other winter sport and there have recently been three snowmobiling-related deaths in British Columbia alone. Sergeant Steve Perret with the Fort St. John RCMP has released some guidelines snowmobilers should follow in order to prevent injuries, so that riders can have the safest, most enjoyable experience possible.

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Firstly, one should never ride a snowmobile without thoroughly reading the operations manual. It is also very important that those who are riding know the trails on which they intend to travel, as well as weather conditions and any avalanche risks.

Perret also says it is critical to be prepared for the worst. He suggests always carrying an emergency safety and vehicle repair kit. These kits should be equipped for any injuries or malfunctions one might encounter while riding. Kits normally include flares, shovels and emergency beacons.

It is important that riders always inform someone of where they will be going and when they plan on returning. Another aspect of snowmobiling safety that should be taken into account is the location of one’s trip. Private property should always be respected and riders should refrain from traveling on public roads and highways as it is illegal and can be extremely dangerous.

Perret says a snowmobile is still considered a vehicle and under no circumstances should a rider’s judgment be impaired by drugs or alcohol. It is illegal to ride impaired and if riders are caught while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they can face severe penalties.

Snowmobiling can be an exhilarating experience. If the necessary precautions are taken and riders are respectful of one another, then there is no reason why this fun winter activity should be ruined by an injury.

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