Snowmobile safety tips from Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Winter in Michigan means it's time to break out the snowmobiles.

Related: Map shows Michigan forest roads authorized for off-road vehicle use

The Department of Natural Resources has offered the following tips to keep riders safe while enjoying the season:

  • Always keep your snowmobile in top mechanical condition.
  • Wear insulated boots and protective clothing, including a helmet, gloves and eye protection.
  • Only ride in designated areas and trails.
  • Check weather conditions before riding and be aware of changing trail conditions.
  • Pick safe places to stop off the trail and never park or stand in the trail.
  • Exercise additional caution when riding on an unfamiliar trail or when riding at night.
  • Never ride alone; use the “buddy system.”
  • Keep headlights and taillights on at all times and keep them clear of snow, ice or other debris.
  • Be alert to avoid fences and low-strung wires.
  • Use caution when approaching a trail intersection. Come to a complete stop when required and look both ways for traffic before proceeding.
  • Stay clear of trail groomers, if possible. Never follow groomers, and give them the right of way.
  • Avoid crossing frozen bodies of water, when possible. If you must cross, never do so while riding in single file.
  • Wear a life jacket if operating on frozen bodies of water.
  • Don’t trespass. If you don’t know whose property you are on, you probably don’t belong there.
  • Operate at safe and appropriate speeds for the terrain.
  • Never ride while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Snowmobilers can take safety education and online training courses, and riders between 12-16 years old must take the courses.

Snowmobilers should also learn Michigan's rules and regulations and universal signage. 

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