Snowmobile Accidents and Fatalities: Can They Be Prevented?

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With winter snow still on the ground in many areas around the country, winter activities like skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling remain in full force. Those who enjoy outdoor winter sports revel in riding their snowmobiles in seemingly perfect conditions. Properly packed snow makes for ideal skiing and snowboarding. Most of the time the runs and rides are incident free, but what about the vehicles that fail to yield, or the ones that lose control, injuring or causing death to the sports enthusiast?

In separate incidents recently on the east coast, two men were involved in snowmobile accidents. One was seriously injured with head and brain trauma, and the other one died, despite the fact that both were wearing helmets. One snowmobiler failed to yield at a stop sign crossing a trail in the wilderness and was hit by another vehicle. The other snowmobiler lost control and charged head-on into a tree. Investigations will continue to determine exact causes, but what we do know is that families were left behind in the devastating aftermath of these tragedies.

Snowmobiles are useful vehicles, both for transporting items in the snow, rescuing others, and for general sports recreation. Extreme caution must be used whenever one is riding a snowmobile. Often alcohol combined with speed are the causes of these fatalities. The driver loses control, is impaired in one form or another, or fails to wear a helmet. The International Snowmobile Manufacturer Association provides statistics and facts to provide consumers with the information they need to stay safe on the snow. It’s estimated that 10 million people world wide enjoy snowmobiling as a sport. With a number like that, safety must be a primary factor for a safe journey. If you are a snowmobile enthusiast, or know someone who is, here are a few safety tips:

  • Always wear a helmet when snowmobiling, no matter how short the trek or how safe you think the conditions may be.
  • Never ride a snowmobile while intoxicated; riding one is the same as riding any vehicle if you are impaired. It is best to not take any chances.
  • Know your route before you ride. Venturing into unknown or primitive territory can be dangerous.
  • Tell someone where you will be going, or what trail you intend to take.
  • Wear the proper gear: sun goggles will help avoid glare; padded clothing will minimize impact.
  • Check the weather conditions before you venture on a recreational ride. A winter storm could show up in a flash.

Subscribe to the theory of safety first when it some to snow activities of any kind, particularly when dealing with a heavy vehicle that you control with your hands. If you or someone you know has been injured or died as a result of a snowmobile accident, proper investigations will take place to determine cause and fault. Seeking the advice of a New York law firm who can best handle your personal injury case is the first place to start.