The Snowmobile Act dictates that a structured training program is necessary for every driver born after Jan. 1, 1989, who is at least 12 years old. However, whether you're a new rider or want to refresh your skills, taking a snowmobile safety course is always a great idea.
To arrange for a safety course in your area, contact:
Saskatchewan Snowmobile Association
221 Centre Street
Regina Beach, SK S0G 4C0
To take a snowmobile safety course online, visit www.sasksnow.ca
As in any vehicle, riders must obey the applicable traffic rules, including:
- Traffic signs and lights regulating traffic on, approaching or leaving highways.
- Trail signs, markers and directional signs.
- Following at a reasonable and safe distance.
- Driving with due care and attention with consideration for other people and property.
- Never driving faster than 80 km/h or the posted speed limit, including the speed limit posted on designated snowmobile trails.
- Never riding after drinking alcohol.
- Yielding the right of way.
- Keep to the right when approaching other vehicles, including snowmobiles.
- Yield to all vehicles when approaching from the right.
- Keep clear of the other vehicle when passing.
Wear a helmet
One of the easiest ways to avoid serious injury is to always wear a helmet. According to The Snowmobile Act, all snowmobile operators and passengers must wear a helmet.
When choosing a helmet, ensure that:
- It's approved as complying with the standards of BSI, CSA, DOT, SNELL, ECE or ANSI for snowmobile or motorcycle use.
- It's large enough to fit comfortably over a balaclava.
- It's secured properly with straps provided.
- It has a full-face shield (if there is no shield, goggles must be worn).
Clothing and apparel
In addition to wearing a helmet, it is important to wear the proper clothing in order to handle the effects of wind and cold.
Snowsuits - They should be windproof and waterproof with zipper flaps, quality insulation, storm cuffs, a knitted collar and inner leg liners which should fit tightly at the boots.
Protective goggles (in case your helmet has no shield) - Tinted grey or green lenses are recommended for bright days. Amber or yellow lenses are good for overcast or late afternoon. These lenses can reveal dangerous depressions in the snow as well as protect your eyes from branches, twigs and other objects.
Mitts and gloves - Snowmobilers should wear warm, windproof mitts or gloves that fit tightly at the wrist or overlap the sleeves of the snowsuit.
Boots and socks - A good pair of boots with a rubber bottom, leather or nylon and felt liners - plus wool socks - are recommended.
Because snowmobile crashes frequently occur at night, special care should be taken when riding at night. Please keep the following information in mind:
- Make sure your headlight and tail light are working.
- Reduce your speed.
- Avoid unfamiliar terrain, especially lakes and streams.
- Carry a flashlight or a flare.
- Don't ride alone at night.
- Ride in the same direction as nearby road traffic.
- Wear reflective clothing.
Driving with passengers
Since snowmobiles handle differently when fully loaded, you should also take extra care when carrying passengers:
- Use only machines designed for that purpose.
- Make sure your passenger wears a helmet and the proper clothing.
- Make sure your passenger uses handle grips or a passenger strap and keeps their feet on the running boards.
- Warn your passenger of approaching hazards, rough terrain or unusual conditions.
- Instruct your passenger how to lean into curves, hills and turns.
Snowmobiling may be fun, but it's also a major contributing factor to deaths and injuries in Saskatchewan. Risky behaviour, speed, alcohol and unfamiliarity with the terrain or the machine are major factors in deaths and injuries.
- Alcohol impairs judgment and dulls the senses, leading to poor decisions and a slower reaction time.
- An irresponsible attitude that rules should not apply on private land results in risky behaviour such as speeding, driving or passing on the wrong side, disregarding warning signs, etc.
- Unsafe practices, such as riding at night in unfamiliar areas, crossing lakes and rivers or overdriving your vision/headlights should be avoided.