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Snowmobile safety on the trails

On Behalf of | Dec 11, 2023 | Auto Insurance Claims

There is a group of Washington residents who look at the weather forecast, hoping for plenty of snow. These people are snowmobile enthusiasts and have been waiting months for the opportunity to ride the 3,000 miles of groomed trails throughout Washington.

But before hitting the trails, it’s crucial to review some tips so you can enjoy a fun and safe ride.

Washington’s snowmobile regulations and tips

Snowmobile riding is one of the most popular winter activities in Washington. Government officials know that thousands of riders from within and out of state will flock to the area to ride in parks, recreation areas and private land all winter. Therefore, they have several rules to ensure everyone stays safe while enjoying their favorite winter recreation, including:

  • All snowmobiles must be registered yearly with the Washington State Department of Licensing, even if they are only used on private property.
  • People bringing their snowmobiles from another state need to get a permit that can be used for up to 60 days.
  • No one under the age of 12 is allowed to operate a snowmobile. Riders between the ages of 12-16 must take a safety course.

In addition to state laws, there are a few things that every rider should keep in mind, including:

  • Never ride alone. Be sure to let others know where you are going and when you expect to return. Carry a map, flashlight and first-aid kit.
  • Ensure you have the right gear, such as a DOT-approved helmet, goggles, insulated boots and gloves, layers of clothing and a waterproof outer layer.
  • Inspect your snowmobile’s brakes, throttles, lights and emergency shut-off to ensure everything is in working order.
  • Ride at a speed that’s safe for the conditions. Remember that snow can hide hazards like rocks, trees and changes in terrain. Always stay on marked trails.
  • Be careful when crossing roadways. Look for oncoming vehicles and remember that cars on snowy and icy roads need extra stopping time.

By following these safety tips, you can ensure that your ride is enjoyable. If you do get into an accident with a negligent driver, however, you may need to seek experienced legal guidance.