Michigan’s winter fun starts heating up when the air chills and the snow flies.
That’s when snowmobile enthusiasts take to the trails to experience the fun and adventure of the sport. With a network of 6,200 miles of groomed trails and postcard-pretty scenery,
Michigan has some of the best riding in the Midwest, if not the country! In fact, Michigan registers more snowmobiles than any other state in the country. Our state is also a popular destination for thousands of visitors. With so many enjoying Michigan’s winter wonderland, it’s important to know the rules and sled with care.
Last year, 24 people lost their lives in snowmobile accidents, and many more were injured. Most of the fatalities and serious injuries involved alcohol or excessive speed. Safe and responsible sledding cuts the risks but not the fun. Before heading out on the trails, keep these safety tips in mind:
o Don’t drink. It is illegal to operate a snowmobile in Michigan while under the influence of alcohol.
o Slow down. It is against the law to travel at a rate of speed greater than is reasonable for existing conditions.
o Know the conditions. Be well prepared for any contingency.
o Wear a helmet. State law requires that riders wear a USDOT approved helmet. o Never ride alone. Try and travel in groups.
o Dress appropriately. Carry a first aid kit and safety gear.
o Avoid travel on frozen bodies of water. o Leave a travel plan. Let someone know your destination and timetable.
For other helpful news and information, please contact my office toll-free at (866) 305-2136 or by e-mail at senate.mi.gov/stamas for a free Michigan Snowmobile and Safety Guide. Or visit the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/dnr to access full snowmobile rules and regulations, or to locate a snowmobile safety course.
As you take to the trails, I wish you and your family a safe ride this winter season.
Sen. Tony Stamas represents Michigan’s 36th District. He lives in Midland.
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