With sledding season underway, it‘s a great time to review some basic snowmobile safety tips that will ensure you make it home safely from the trails this winter. After all, some 50 people die each year due to snowmobile accidents in Ontario and Quebec, and at least 1,200 more end up in the hospital with snowmobile-related injuries according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information. Remember operating a snowmobile needs to be treated just like any other vehicle. Make sure you brush up on snowmobile safety before heading out on the trail.

Here‘s how to avoid an accident out on the trails:

1. Wear protective gear. Always wear reflective clothing, a helmet, a face shield, insulated waterproof boots and leather snowmobile mitts. Wearing layers of clothing made of polypropylene and thermal fabric will help to release moisture yet retain heat to keep you dry and warm. Consider carrying extra clothing, socks, boot liners and mitts for layering.

2. Obey all trail signage. Speed limits and other trail signage are posted for your safety and that of the other people using the trails. You should never ignore these signs.

3. Never ride alone. Riding with another snowmobiler provides the security needed in case of an accident, mechanical problems, poor weather conditions or a medical emergency.

4. Slow down in traffic. Always slow down and give the right of way to skiers, hikers, dogsledders, or other people you might encounter out on the trails.

5. Don’t mix drinking and riding. Operating your snowmobile under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs is against the law. If you‘re convicted of driving a snowmobile while impaired, you could lose your ability to drive any type of vehicle.

Although it‘s one of the joys of winter, riding a snowmobile is not without risks. Make sure that your equipment is ready to ride and that you have the right insurance coverage. Be sure to contact your broker to protect yourself and your ATV with the proper snowmobile insurance before you hit the slopes.