Educating yourself about snow safety off-road is essential if you are going to operate a vehicle during the winter months.
Snow Safety Off-Road Tips
Here are some suggestions to keep in mind when driving off road:
Choose the Right Tires
If you are planning on navigating through deep snow, make sure your vehicle is equipped with high-flotation tires. These are the best choice for on-road driving during colder months as well.
You will want to proceed with caution when starting your vehicle in deep snow. Start off slowly to avoid sinking down instead of being able to propel it forward.
Avoid Locking Up Brakes if Possible
When the snow is deep, it won't matter whether you are trying to drive on or off the road. You may be tempted to lock up the brakes, but you want to avoid having your vehicle taking a nosedive into deep snow or breaking through the crust and not being able to get started again. Unless you have to try to stop quickly, try to do it smoothly.
Keep Four-Wheel Drive for Lower Speeds
The main advantage to using four-wheel drive is when you are going slowly. If you are traveling at a higher speed, there isn't an advantage to using it.
Follow Existing Tracks if Possible
You are much less likely to get stuck if you follow pre-existing tracks that aren't very deep. If you are making your own tracks, put the vehicle in four-wheel drive and drive slowly.
Tell Someone Where You Are Going
Before you head out for a day of off-road driving, make sure that someone knows where you are headed and what time you are planning on returning. That way, if you are late in getting back, someone is aware that you may need help.
Take Food and Water with You
Whenever you head out in the winter, you should take some snacks with you in case you end up getting stuck and can't get back home as planned. Having water in the vehicle is even more important than having food, since it's important to stay well hydrated.
Take Extra Clothing and a Blanket
If you got stuck while driving off-road, you need to stay warm and dry. The vehicle will provide you with shelter and warmth; you can run the engine periodically to keep the interior temperature comfortable. A lit candle can provide you with light and heat, if necessary.
Include a First Aid Kit
Part of being well prepared when driving off road in the winter is to carry a First Aid kit. Having a basic knowledge of how to deal with an emergency will help you feel more confident when enjoying off-road activities.
Carry a Cell Phone
Make sure you have your cell phone with you and that it is fully charged before you head out. This is your link to getting help if you need it.
You can enjoy being on a snowmobile in the winter and still keep safety in mind. Always wear a helmet, even if you are only going for a short distance. It only takes a few seconds for tragedy to strike, and head injuries inflicted while traveling by snowmobile can be very serious, if not fatal.
Keep these snow safety off-road tips in mind the next time you head out to enjoy some time in the Great Outdoors.