WORCESTER, Mass., Jan. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- With over 1.4 million registered snowmobiles in the United States and that number increasing by about five percent annually, snowmobile-related injuries and fatalities continue to grow. With this in mind, The Hanover Insurance Group is offering strategies to help keep snowmobilers safe this winter.
"Snowmobiling has become one of the most popular winter recreational sports," said Mark Desrochers, president, personal lines insurance at The Hanover. "Given the sport's popularity, snowmobile owners should ensure they take the right safety precautions for themselves, their passengers and their equipment."
To help keep you and your passengers safer riding snowmobiles this season, The Hanover recommends the following tips:
- Do Not Operate Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol – Alcohol is a leading cause of fatalities on snowmobiles. As with operating any other vehicle, alcohol and drugs negatively impact a driver's senses including reaction time, vision, balance and coordination.
- Dress Appropriately – Riders should make sure their helmets are safety-certified, in good condition, and fit properly. In addition, riders should wear goggles or protective eyewear to shield them from the sun and other elements.
- Know Your Surroundings – Riding in unfamiliar areas can present a serious danger to snowmobilers. For example, lakes and ponds have the risk of falling through the ice, giving riders less traction for turning or stopping the snowmobile in an emergency. Snowmobile operators should also avoid driving on main roads where visibility and traffic may prove hazardous.
- Avoid Using a Cell Phone – Just as with a motor vehicle, texting or talking on a cell phone should be avoided while operating a snowmobile. In addition to the distraction from your surroundings, it prevents the driver from keeping both hands in control of the snowmobile.
- Beware of Avalanches – Snowmobilers top the list of those caught and killed in avalanches. Riders should prepare themselves by taking an avalanche training course, be aware of their surroundings when riding in areas with mountains or hills and recognize the signs of a potential avalanche.
- Never Ride Alone – It is never safe for snowmobilers to ride alone. If there is an accident or an injury, riders will need a buddy to assist them and call for help.