Start your snowmobiling season safely with these tips from Traficom
Snowmobiling can be a fun wintertime hobby. Here is how to make sure you arrive safely to your destination. To ensure your safety, choose your route wisely, avoid driving in poor weather conditions, make sure your snowmobile is in good shape and have the right attitude. When driving on ice, always wear ice awls around your neck.
“A skilled driver is able to avoid dangerous situations and stay on the trail by adjusting their speed to the conditions. In the wilderness, you might not have mobile phone reception and getting help might take a long time, so do not take any risks,” reminds Chief Adviser Otto Lahti.
1. Make sure: Check the weather conditions beforehand. Do not drive on frozen lakes or sea outside the marked routes if you do not know the area.
2. Watch out: Trail conditions may vary, and visibility can change quickly even on a familiar route. Never drive too fast for the level of visibility, the condition of the trail and your own driving skills. In a curve, you should always stay on the right side of the trail. Watch out for oncoming snowmobiles.
3. Prepare: Download the 112 Suomi application onto your mobile phone, and keep your phone fully charged inside a warm pocket. Take a map with you, as you will not be able to use your phone everywhere, and let other people know where you are going and when to expect you back. Bring warm clothes, food, tools, ice awls, and a rope with you – something unexpected might happen during your drive.
4. Equipment: Make sure the all the parts and equipment of your snowmobile work well. Bring tools and a spare belt for the variator, and learn how to change the belt beforehand, e.g. in your own driveway. Make sure you have enough fuel in the tank, find out about where you can refuel. If you have a 2T snowmobile, check the oil level. Both drivers and passengers must wear a helmet.
Safe start: a guided safari
Guided snowmobile safaris are an easy and safe way to get started with snowmobiling. To participate, you must be at least 15 years old, and have at least a T class driving licence (for driving a tractor).
When driving in a group, the instructor will take into account the differences in the drivers’ skills, and usually the maximum speed of the snowmobiles has been reduced to make it easier for beginners to handle and control their snowmobile. The most important thing is to follow the advice and hand signals of the instructor, as they know the snowmobile and the terrain.
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