The Ultimate Snowmobile Safety Guide
The average snowmobiler will ride around 1,414 miles each year in North America. This is not too much of a surprise as there are approximately 230,000 miles of trails marked throughout both the United States and Canada. And trust us - we get it - we're all excited to get out and ride, but before hitting the snow, you should always practice safety.
The Ultimate Snowmobile Safety Guide
1. Your Machine
Do a quick “pre-op” check before each ride which can be outlined in your owner’s manual. If you have other concerns, or maintenance that is needed, be sure to reference your owner’s manual or a dealer. It’s important to make sure your snowmobile is kept in good condition to ensure dependability, and fun.
2. Local Maps and Terrain
Know where you are riding and what to expect along the trails. You can always talk to the locals or get a map. It’s important to learn the terrain as there may be roads, railways, or bodies of water that you need to beware of.
3. Forecasted Weather Conditions
Check the local weather along the trails as you don’t want to get stranded in the middle of a storm. If there is a storm, it’s best to wait. Stay indoors until the weather has passed.
4. Your Snow Plan
Check your snow plan and review it with those you are riding with. If you don’t have one, create one. Note where you will be riding and when you plan to return. Make sure to share this plan with others so they know your whereabouts and if you don’t return can send for help.
5. Your Emergency Gear
Make sure to pack a set of personal items, safety equipment, tool kit, and first aid for emergencies. Don’t leave without these items because you never know if you, someone you’re with, or others will need it.
Bonus Snowmobile Safety Items to Consider
Personal items you should carry with you include your driver’s license, snowmobile safety certification card (if required by your jurisdiction), some money, insurance forms for vehicle, a cell phone, water, high energy food, and if you have any critical, necessary medications.
Before leaving make sure your phone is fully charged and then turned off to help preserve battery life. Keep your phone stored in a warm location so it does not freeze. A great place to keep your phone would be an inside coat pocket. Although phones are great, depending where you are, you may not have reception. In this case, you may want a back-up device such as a flare or even a radio.
Flares are great because they make it easier for rescuers to find you by creating a bright red flame or an orange cloud of smoke. However, flares can easily start fires, so it is essential to be aware of any highly flammable or dry materials near you. Because fire can quickly occur with flares, it is important to also have an extinguisher like STOP-FYRE® with you in case of a fire emergency as help may be far away. Make sure when using flares to keep STOP-FYRE® in an easily accessible location. You need STOP-FYRE within 6 seconds to control and minimize damages from fire.
Safety Equipment Necessities
At the bare minimum, the safety equipment you should have on your snowmobile in case of an emergency includes a compass, local map, waterproof matches, a candle or fire starter, flashlight, spare batteries, fire extinguisher, and an extra ignition key for your snowmobile.
When using a fire starter, make sure to follow basic safety measures like you would with any fire. Do not leave it unattended with dry, flammable materials nearby, and be sure to properly extinguish the fire before leaving. A fast, easy way to put a fire out is with the use of STOP-FYRE. Be sure to use quick, short targeted bursts at the base of the fire. It may seem strange not to hold the trigger of the extinguisher in the event of a fire, but STOP-FYRE is a multi-shot extinguisher designed to be used more than once. It is extremely powerful, and depending on the size of the fire, one squirt may be all you need! We have found that many of our customers have only had to use one squirt of STOP-FYRE and the fire was out.
However, before leaving it is best to use extra precaution to ensure reignition will not occur. Once the fire is out, make sure to break up the conditions of the fire. All you need to do is simply smother the base of the fire with something like dirt or snow, and then you can be on your way!
Tool Kit Necessities
Most snowmobile manufacturers have already included a basic tool kit inside of your machine. These are typically under the hood or seat of your snowmobile and include a spark plug wrench, other wrenches needed for adjustments, flat-head and Phillips-head screwdrivers, and a strap for emergency starting 2-stroke snowmobiles with a recoil start. It is a great idea to also have spare spark plugs and a spare drive belt as well. All these tools are vital in ensuring your safety if your machine breaks down, so do not remove these from your snowmobile. Always keep these with you as you never know when you will need them.
Additionally, consider adding a knife, pliers/side cutters, an adjustable wrench, electrical or duct tape, rags, bungee cords, a tow rope, and a STOP-FYRE Mini fire extinguisher to your tool kit. The STOP-FYRE Mini is perfect because it is made to fit within the compartment for your tools! It was designed specifically for small engine applications where other extinguishers are simply too large and cumbersome. However make no mistake, although it is small, it still has the power and cleanliness loved by customers, but in a much smaller size to fit where space is very limited.
First Aid Kit Necessities
Your first aid kit should always be with you while snowmobiling. If you’d like to purchase a first aid kit there are many that have everything you may need in a compact size, making it easy to carry and store while riding. If you’d like to make your own, consider including items such as band aids, 2-inch and 4-inch compresses, a roll of gauze, a roll of adhesive tape, a thermal/space blanket, knife or scissors, alcohol wipes, burn gel, and antibiotic ointment. Keep these items stored in a waterproof container, and keep in mind liquids will freeze so it may be best to not include them.
We recommend bringing items for burns in your kit in case you were to have a fire, and anyone experiences a burn. If you don’t have burn gel, like our customer David Y. from Oblong Illinois, STOP-FYRE will also cool your burn! The family’s recliner was on fire, and David unfortunately got burned. His wife sprayed STOP-FYRE on his arm, and it cooled it off!
You’ve probably noticed a common denominator for all your emergency gear for snowmobiling, a fire extinguisher. But no worries, AKE has you covered with the STOP-FYRE Mini. Our team has designed this to be ultra-compact and extremely lightweight, so you can have quick and easy access to the effectiveness of STOP-FYRE without the weight. Traditional fire extinguishers are heavy and such a hassle. But STOP-FYRE comes with our patented fire extinguisher cap which protects the handle and valve from insects, dirt, and other debris. It also has a distinctive pistol grip handle that makes it so easy to use that even a 4-year old can do it!
The best parts of STOP-FYRE though are that it requires no yearly or monthly service. You can use it many times and it leaves no mess, so there’s no clean up necessary. If you use STOP-FYRE on your snowmobile, it is also non-corrosive, so it won’t eat up your machine. And with a lifetime no-hassle guarantee, STOP-FYRE is truly the way to go for ultimate peace of mind.