Riding winter trails safely
When winter arrives, many Manitobans enjoy the beauty of our snowy landscape on their snowmobiles. Everyone who owns, drives or rides a snowmobile should be aware of risks to their financial and physical well-being.
Snowmobile safety tips
- Head injuries are the main cause of death and serious injury while operating or riding on a snowmobile. Your safety equipment should include a properly fitting helmet approved for snowmobiles.
- Don’t drink and drive. The same impaired driving laws that apply to motor vehicles also apply to snowmobiles.
- Always tell someone of your destination and expected arrival time before you set out. Be prepared by knowing the local trail and weather conditions and drive safely according to these conditions. Always be alert for potential danger as your engine noise may impair your hearing.
- Be especially careful at night. Your visibility is reduced, so slow down and wear reflective outer clothing.
- Use groomed snowmobile trails whenever and wherever possible. Greatly reduce your accident risk by buying a Snopass and riding on Snoman Inc.'s (Snowmobilers of Manitoba) groomed trails. Snopasses can be purchased year-round anywhere Autopac is sold. A number of payment options are available. Find out more about Snopasses here.
- In Manitoba, children under the age of 14 are not permitted to operate a snowmobile unless supervised, accompanied by, and at all times, within clear view of a parent or a person who is at least 18 years old and authorized by the parent.
- Operating a snowmobile on a roadway is strictly prohibited. Snowmobiles driven in a ditch should be moving in the same direction as traffic on the adjacent roadway.
- Crossing a roadway is permitted within five metres of an intersection at a 90-degree angle to the intersection only if the driver holds a valid driver's licence, other than a beginner's permit. Come to a full stop before crossing and only one machine should cross at a time. Exercise care at all times when crossing roadways and railway tracks.
- Carry an emergency kit that includes items for snowmobile repair, first aid and survival.
To learn more about correct operating procedures, consider taking the Safety Services Manitoba’s Snowmobile Operator's Training Program, which is presented with assistance from Manitoba Public Insurance.
For Manitoba trail conditions, please visit Snoman Inc's website.
For more safety information, please visit Transport Canada’s website, and for safety tips for families, visit the Canadian Paediatric Society’s website.