Snowmobile season is never far off in Wisconsin, and if you are a fan of the popular winter activity, you may well be prepping for the fun that lies ahead. As much as snowmobiling can be an enjoyable activity, however, it is also an inherently dangerous one. Just as motorcycle riders face certain hazards due to their level of exposure and the fact that little exists to protect them from the roadway, snowmobile riders, too, face these dangers.
Understanding the common factors in many Wisconsin snowmobile accidents may help you maintain safe riding practices, and it may also help you increase your own awareness when sharing trails with other riders who may not be doing the same.
Last season’s numbers
Despite relatively low snow totals last season, there were still nine snowmobile fatalities in the state, and six of them involved riders colliding with fixed objects, such as trees, cabins or other obstructions along the trail. Alcohol was another factor in six of the nine fatal snowmobile accidents Wisconsin saw last season, and 22 snowmobile operators were arrested within that same time period for operating under the influence.
Common snowmobile violations
Even if you routinely follow all laws and consistently maintain safe driving behaviors, there is only so much you can do if others on the trails fail to do the same. Snowmobile operator errors are also common causes of snowmobile accidents in the state, with failing to comply with posted signs among the most prevalent. Other common operator errors include using snowmobiles in areas not marked for trail use and operating on or near highways. Speeding and driving carelessly or recklessly are also common in many snowmobile crashes.
Exploring Wisconsin on a snowmobile can be a great way to get a closer look at this beautiful state, but it is not a risk-free activity. Maintain a strong sense of your surroundings this season, and stay safe.