Safe snowmobiling advice from the OPP

Par Raymond Berthiaume
Safe snowmobiling advice from the OPP
OPP snowmobile patrol

International Snowmobile Safety Week is from January 14 to 22 and is meant to make both snowmobilers and the general public more aware about winter recreation safety.

The OPP remind snowmobilers to restrict their activities to trails that are open and groomed for use. Do not snowmobile on any private lands unless the property owner has given permission for the activity. When permission to ride is allowed, snowmobilers must take care not to leave any litter behind when they stop for any reason and to avoid disturbing any livestock that may be in the area.

Snowmobilers also must have their driver’s licence or user licence and any other documents available for inspection when requested. A valid trail permit must be in place on the snowmobile when going on designated trails They must also avoid drinking any alcohol or using any cannabis products before and during their rides.

Safety tips

Snowmobilers must come to a complete stop when approaching a trail crossing over a public or private road, and look for any approaching traffic before crossing. Riders must obey any posted speed limits and also adjust speed to allow for weather and trail conditions.

All riders must wear CSA-approved helmets and have chin straps secured. Wear suitable snowmobile suits or other clothing that will keep the rider warm and prevent hypothermia.

Snowmobilers should make sure to tell someone where they are going and how soon they expect to return. Riders should carry mobile phones for emergency calls and make sure the phone has a full charge before leaving. Avoid riding at night in unfamiliar areas

Riders should avoid snowmobiling alone and maintain contact with their fellow riders. All snowmobilers should have a small personal safety kit with them that includes waterproof matches, a pocket knife, a compass, and a signal whistle.

All snowmobiles should have regular inspections to make sure there are no mechanical faults or problems.

Riders should avoid going on rivers or lakes if they are not sure the ice is thick enough to support the weight of the machine. Contact the OPP or other agency to check on weather conditions and ice safety.

More information and advice on snowmobile safety is available at, the Ontario Federal of Snowmobile Clubs at, and the Lifesaving Society for cold water and ice safety at

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