As the snow falls, many people in Ontario look forward to some of their favourite winter activities, such as snowmobiling. But like operating any motorized vehicle, there are risks, so it is important to follow the Ontario laws specific to snowmobiling and take the necessary safety precautions.
In order to operate a snowmobile on public property, you must be at least 12 years old. Kids under 12 may only drive on private property (with the owner’s permission) and should only do so under the supervision of an adult. Kids aged 12-16 and those without a valid driver’s licence must obtain a Motorized Snow Vehicle Operator’s License (MSVOL) to drive a snowmobile. If you have a valid driver’s license, you will not need an MSVOL, but you will still need to register your snowmobile with the Ministry of Transportation and have the necessary insurance.
Before you hit the trails this winter, take some time to review the following safety tips.
- Take a Snowmobile Safety Course
Especially if you are new to snowmobiling, it is highly recommended that you take a snowmobile safety course. This can be done through the Canada Safety Council.
And even if you are experienced at snowmobiling, it never hurts to brush up on your knowledge by taking a practice test.
- Keep a Safety Kit with You
Just like you should keep a safety kit in your car, you should also keep one on your snowmobile. Recommended items that you should keep in this kit include:
- First aid kit
- GPS or compass
- Knife or axe
- Matches and a waterproof container
- Extra set of dry clothing
- High energy snacks
- Plan Your Route
Be sure to plan your route before you leave. There are some roads and highways in Ontario where it is illegal to drive a snowmobile. There are other roads where you’re allowed to drive on the shoulder if there is no other way to get to the trail.
Travelling on paved roads where there are cars is not necessarily illegal, but it is dangerous and should be avoided. Be especially careful in areas you are not familiar with, especially areas with frozen bodies of water.
- Look out for Groomers and Other Drivers
On property that belongs to snowmobile clubs, there are tractor-like vehicles called groomers that “pave” the trails. Driving snowmobiles on these trails, it can be easier to get behind groomers, so you need to be alert at all times and not get too close.
Remember that groomers have the right of way, so ensure you give them enough room to pass.
Additionally, you need to stay alert for other snowmobile drivers and give them plenty of space as well. Be sure to stay on the right-hand side of the trail to avoid accidents.
- Use Extra Caution When Snowmobiling at Night
Snowmobiling at night comes with additional risks, so make sure to take the necessary precautions. To ensure other drivers can see you, always drive with your lights on and wear reflective clothing. Remember that your visibility is reduced as well, so drive at a slower speed and be aware of your surroundings.
Contact Hoffman Law today
Unfortunately, despite all of our precautions, injuries from snowmobile accidents can still occur. If you or a loved one has been hurt on a snowmobile, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Hoffman Law today for a consultation with one of our Personal Injury Lawyers to determine if you have a case.