Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) South Dakota volunteers and staff are teaming up with the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP), to promote a safe snowmobile season and to educate the public about the dangers of operating a snowmobile while impaired by alcohol and/or other drugs.
“Snowmobile impaired crashes affect families the same way as road vehicles impaired crashes do,” said MADD Regional Executive Director Veronica Hawman. “Unfortunately, there is not always the same mindset for Snowmobile drivers in terms of choosing to operate them sober.”
Snowmobiling is a great way to get out and enjoy the outdoors during the winter months. The long winters attract a lot of people to take part — but there’s one hard truth: drinking alcohol and/or consuming drugs and riding just don’t mix.
“It’s important to remember that operating any type of vehicle while under the influence can cause traumatic injuries and tragic loss of life,” said Regional Conservation Officer Supervisor Jim McCormick. “If your plans include alcohol, consider doing so after you are finished snowmobiling for the day and have a non-drinking driver to get you to your next destination.”
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and GFP want to share these safety tips to make snowmobiling a great experience with all recreation explorers:
Don’t drive impaired: Alcohol and drugs have a negative effect on the driver’s vision, balance, coordination, and reaction time. Don’t ride with people who drink and ride!
Stay on the trail unless otherwise designated: Know the laws and regulations governing snowmobiling where you ride and where you travel to ride.
Watch the weather and check trail and ice conditions before riding: Don’t ride in adverse weather conditions. Plan your trip and check the trails you’ll be riding prior to departure.
Never ride alone: Always ride with a friend on another snowmobile. This way if one machine is disabled, you have another to get help.
Dress for safety and survival: Always wear a quality DOT helmet and facemask. Wear layers of clothing to keep warm and dry. Snowmobile suits, bibs, jackets, gloves, and mittens should cut the wind, repel water, and keep you ventilated.
Slow down: Excessive speed is a major factor in many accidents, especially at night. To help avoid accidents, keep your nighttime speed under 40 MPH.
Stay to the right: Almost every trail is a two-way trail. So, stay to the far right of the trail, especially on hills and corners. Obey all trail signs and cross roadways with extreme caution.
Riding on ice – lakes and rivers: It is safest to avoid riding on lakes and rivers. If you must ride on ice, wear a life jacket over your outer clothing. Stay on the marked trail and stay off ice that has moving water (current) near or under it – ice in these areas may be thin and weak.
Take a snowmobile safety training course: South Dakota offers resident snowmobilers the ability to take a snowmobile safety course online through Kalkomey Inc. While South Dakota doesn’t require a safety course certification to operate a snowmobile here, other states do have this as a requirement. GFP along with the South Dakota Snowmobile Association and Governor Appointed Snowmobile Advisory Council strongly encourage all snowmobile enthusiasts taking the time through this online course, or an in person course hosted by various snowmobile clubs across the state, to learn how to operate a snowmobile safely. You can take the course by CLICKING HERE.
About Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Founded in 1980 by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking. MADD has helped to save more than 400,000 lives, reduce drunk driving deaths by more than 50 percent and promote designating a non-drinking driver. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® calls for law enforcement support, ignition interlocks for all offenders and advanced vehicle technology. MADD has provided supportive services to nearly one million drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge through local victim advocates and the 24-Hour Victim Help Line 1-877-MADD-HELP. CLICK HERE or call 1-877-ASK-MADD.
About South Dakota Game, Fish, & Parks
South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks serve and connect people and families to the outdoors through effective management of our state’s parks, fisheries and wildlife resources. Over 1,500 miles of snowmobile trails exist in South Dakota, so whether you have the need to cross the open prairie out east or lose yourself in the 1 million acres of ponderosa pine in the Black Hills, South Dakota is the place for you.