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Five Brilliant Tips for Snowmobiling Safety

Winter’s just around the corner. And with it comes the time to expose your snowmobile for a brand new set of wind-chapped adventures!Sure you don’t need another boring lecture on the perils of riding your winter cruiser — you already know them, of course! So none of those common-sense tips like, “wear your helmet,” “avoid the dark,” and so on.

What can be actually useful, however, are a few snowmobile safety tips you may not have thought of yourself. The following are 5:

1. Take good care of your snowmobile.

Half of snowmobile safety is what you do before you hit the powder — and it’s more than filling the gas and cleaning the windshield. At the beginning of riding season, your snowmobile should get a complete check: spark plugs and filters replaced, battery cleaned and charged, and all fluids topped off. While you’re riding, keep at your essential snowmobile maintenance tasks like aligning the skis, checking the brakes and lubricating the chassis from time to time.

2. Keep SPIDE in mind.

SPIDE is a survival acronym:

S – Scan your field of vision constantly and don’t let your eyes fix on any point for too long.

P – Predict the worst to avoid getting off guard.

I – Identify perils in advance.

D – Decide on your actions before dangers can come near.

E – Execute your plans.

3. Relax and let loose.

Riding tense will make you plow straight ahead.To be more flexible, you have to be limber.Look where you plan to go and turn your whole head in that direction when making a turn. Also, shifting your lower body around the sled is something you can train yourself to do. Many riders depend on their arms to change course, but it’s actually their legs that can best dictate the snowmobile’s path.

4. Steer clear of frozen water.

So many nasty things could be waiting out there on the water, like ice cracking, irresponsible snowmobilers, not enough traction, etc. Although some riders still want to take their chances, the safest thing to do is turn around and go the other way.

5. Have company or use a satellite system.

It’s always wise to ride with at least one person, but if that’s not possible, plan your route in advance and give notes to friends and family back home. Or buy a GPS messenger so you can stay connected with the world, even in remote areas. Best of all, if you ever crash, a GPS messenger will alert nearby rescue centers, providing you and your loved ones peace of mind. This tool will not come for free, but it can make a huge difference in your safety.
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