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Snowmobilers Reminded To Be Safe After Fatal Crashes

Ontario Provincial Police are reminding snowmobile enthusiasts to take it easy after two fatal New Year’s Eve crashes.

The OPP is investigating a fatal crash in a wooded Oxford County area. Also, a snowmobile and ATV collided in Wallaceburg, killing one driver and seriously injuring the other.

With the snowmobile a big part of the Canadian way of life, the OPP says some drivers still fail to take the proper precautions. The Ontario Ministry of Transportation says roughly 1,100 snowmobile injuries occur each year. On average, 30 snowmobilers die.

The OPP has some tips to pass along to make sure snowmobilers ride safely.

Make sure that you tell someone about your plans before setting out, and always ride with a buddy. Bring a fully-charged cell phone if possible.

Driving a snowmobile is the same as operating a motor vehicle. Follow the rules of the road. Obey all speed limit signs and trail signs.

Visibility can be challenging at night. If you must ride at night, slow down and watch for guide wires, fences and other objects that can be harder to spot. Try not to drive on frozen lakes and rivers. If you must do so, check the ice conditions before you attempt it. Wear a buoyant snowsuit and carry an ice pick and make sure they are reached easily.

Helmets are required unless operating on private property belonging to the snowmobile’s owner.

Riders on public highways must be 16 years of age and older and have either a valid driver’s licence or a motorized snow vehicle operator’s licence. Riders on trails must be 12 years of age or older. You must carry your licence, the snowmobile registration and proof of insurance at all times.

Do not ride your snowmobile on private property unless you have permission from the property owner. You could face trespassing charges and if you cause damage, criminal liability.

Never, ever operate while impaired by alcohol or drugs.

The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs has complete information on safe snowmobiling and trails in the province.