Snowmobiling: six tips to be prepared for your next ride
If “winter” to you means snowmobiling, here’s what you need to know to take full advantage of the cold season.
With snowmobile season just around the corner, we put together a list of six things you should do before heading out. Proper preparation is often the key for a great day on the trails!
1. Get snowmobile insurance
Even before planning out what trails you will discover this year, the first step is to get snowmobile insurance. General liability insurance is mandatory for any on- or off-trail snowmobiling.
In Quebec, snowmobilers who get their trail permit through the Fédération des clubs de motoneigistes du Québec automatically enjoy $1,000,000 in general liability coverage. But if you want to increase your coverage to $2,000,000, don’t have a trail permit or simply want to cover damage to your snowmobile, you’ll need to get snowmobile insurance from a recognized insurance company.
2. Make sure your snowmobile has a safety kit
Before going snowmobiling, get your survival equipment so you can be ready to deal with any unforeseen situation that may arise on your ride. To ensure your safety when out snowmobiling, make sure you take the following:
- Cellphone, as well as a satellite phone if you’re going to an area with no cellphone coverage
- Trail map, compass and GPS
- First aid kit and blanket
- Rope, knife and matches
- Tools to repair your snowmobile
- Supplies like water and snacks, since you’re bound to get hungry at some point or another!
3. Check the weather forecast
Before hitting the trails, look at the weather forecast for the day and verify snowmobiling conditions by checking the state of the trails. Dress comfortably and warmly enough for forecast temperatures. If they’re calling for bad weather, it’s often wiser to put the trip off to another day.
4. Plan out an itinerary
Once you’ve checked the weather will be good, prepare your itinerary for the day. By doing this ahead of time, you can leave a copy of your route and your expected return time with a friend or loved one who won't be snowmobiling with you.
And when you’re out riding, stick to your plan and avoid going over any frozen water unless it’s marked by a snowmobile club.
5. Take your documents with you
Did you know that document checks are now done on snowmobile trails? Yes indeed! So when you head out snowmobiling, make you take and keep these four documents with you, as they might come very much in handy:
- Trail permit
- Snowmobile registration
- Driver’s licence
- Proof of snowmobile insurance
6. Inspect your snowmobile
The last step before heading out is a mechanical inspection of your engine. Check your oil and gas levels, among other things. And check again each time you head out for a ride.
Whether you’re snowmobiling or driving a car, there are certain rules to follow to be safe. Follow the speed limit, take safety equipment, and if you’re out in the evening, consider reducing your speed and be careful about falling asleep at the wheel.
There you go—now you’re ready to enjoy the winter safely. Happy trails!
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