With snowmobile trails in the area finally looking ride-able the OPP is reminding riders to be safe.

According to the OPP they are in collaboration with the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) on the best way to keep snowmobile users safe. Riders are encouraged to remain on OFSC trails and reminded that travelling on unsafe ice, speeding, travelling too fast for conditions and alcohol consumption are the leading cause of snowmobile related fatalities.

Some other tips the OPP have include:

Stay on the trail: Staying on open OFSC trail is safer than riding anywhere else.

Know the scenario: Like other motorized recreational activities, snowmobiling poses certain inherent risks. Be prepared for the unexpected and avoid unnecessary risks.

Choose the right time and place: Make a smart choice about if, when and how to ride based on the conditions at the time.

Choose good visibility conditions: On the snow, many factors can severely limit your ability to see properly, including snow dust, white-outs, heavy snow or freezing rain, sun glare, flat light or fog; fogging or icing of visor and/or eye glasses, and darkness or over-riding your headlights.

Spread out: Snowmobilers are reminded to keep a safe distance from other riders.

Be vigilant: Simply put, you always need to know what’s going on around you to be able to properly assess your position and your next moves.

Use hand signals: Habitual use of the hand signals is both the courteous and responsible choice, so get in the habit of using them where it is safe and prudent to do so. The hand signals can be found here.

Keep your wits: Smart choices, good judgment, constant vigilance and sharp reactions are the four keys to snowmobiling without incident.

Keep right: By choosing to deliberately and constantly keep your sled on the right side of the trail, you’ll dramatically increase your chances of staying out of harm’s way.

Know before you go: No ice is completely safe. If you choose to cross anyway, you can reduce the personal risk you are accepting. Always cross in good visibility conditions and try to follow a stake line and/or previously beaten track. Never cross alone. Keep a sharp eye out for ice heaves and ice roads.

Be prepared: The best plans will have you prepared in the event that an incident occurs. You can help ensure your personal safety with preparations like filing a ride plan before leaving home, carrying a reliable communications device and a personal tracking unit, always riding with an emergency/survival kit and to packing spare parts and a tow rope.