OPP & OFSC Launch Provincial Snowmobile Safety Week

Common Sense Riding and Smart Choices Important says OPP & OFSC

ORILLIA, ON, Jan. 12, 2012 /CNW/ - With Provincial Snowmobile Safety Week getting underway next week (January 15-21, 2012), the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) are reminding snowmobilers that arriving home safely after every ride means making smart choices when it comes to their riding behaviour.

The province-wide campaign is an excellent opportunity for riders to tune up their sledding habits with a greater focus on the well-being of other snowmobilers as well as their own personal safety.

Like other motorized recreational activities, snowmobiling poses certain inherent risks: it occurs off-road in an unpredictable setting. Each rider has a responsibility to expect the unexpected, obey the laws and use common sense.  Most snowmobiling-related incidents are preventable by making these smart choices:

Don't ride while impaired by alcohol or drugs: If a rider is caught snowmobiling in the "warn range" of .05 to .08, they are subject to having their driver's licence immediately suspended, effectively ending their ride on the spot.  If convicted of driving a snowmobile while impaired, a rider could lose all driving privileges (car, truck, motorcycle, off-road vehicles and snowmobiles).

Stay on the Trail: The OFSC provides designated trails that are marked, mapped, maintained and patrolled for the safety and enjoyment of all snowmobilers.  By avoiding closed trails and not riding off-trail on roads, lakes, unfamiliar terrain and private property, riders can greatly reduce their risk of tragedy.

Take It Easy: Take it easy during every ride, always obey the law and always stay to the right of the trail. Riders should snowmobile with care and control, within their own ability and according to current trail and weather conditions.

Know Before You Go: No ice travel is completely safe. Hypothermia or drowning from riding into open water or falling through the ice are serious risks, as are collisions with fixed objects such as docks, ice huts or shorelines.

See and Be Seen: Good judgment, depth perception and quick reaction time depend on being able to see properly at all times. Slow down and keep right in reduced visibility situations like snow dust, sun glare, heavy falling snow, or when visor or glasses are fogged, and always wear bright colours and reflective materials so others can see you more easily.

Slow Down at Night: Darkness reduces visibility and alters perceptions, so riders must ride even more cautiously at night and never outrun their sled headlights.

Be Prepared: Snowmobiling can take you far away from emergency assistance, so each rider must be prepared for self-help by carrying a tool kit, spare parts, flashlight, first-aid kit and survival items such as high-energy food, fire-starting equipment and a compass.

Ride with Companions: Never snowmobile alone. Riding buddies can provide immediate assistance for breakdowns, getting stuck or emergency situations.

The OPP is committed to saving lives on Ontario's highways, trails and waterways through the reduction of preventable injury and death. Initiatives are developed and delivered through the Provincial Traffic Safety Program. Visit opp.ca for more information.

The OFSC is committed to proactive leadership in promoting safe, responsible riding, on and off Ontario snowmobile trails, by building safer snowmobiling knowledge, attitudes and behaviours through rider education, safety legislation development and enforcement. For more information, visit ofsc.on.ca.

SOURCE Ontario Provincial Police

For further information:

Contact:   OPP Sgt Larry Butterfield # 6295
  Central Region SAVE Team
  OPP Highway Safety Division
Phone: (705) 238-8524
OFSC: Leta Elsner 
Phone: (705) 739-7669


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