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  • Bultsma Insurance Agency

Rev Up Safety, Not Speed on Your Snowmobile Adventure

“Dashing through the snow, on a 100 horse power sleigh. Over the handles we go, screaming all the way (to the hospital).”

Yes, we know that’s not exactly how the song goes. But if winter snow and cold, clear days make you itch to go snowmobiling, your Trusted Choice® independent agent hopes you’ll remember this: Safe operating habits can make the difference between a joy-filled ride and a tragic accident.

So whether your plans are a leisurely ride on favorite trails or a power run through more rugged terrain, here are a few snowmobile safety tips from the experienced and snow-loving folks at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources:

• Before riding, attend a snowmobile safety training course (which may be required in some areas). Learn proper vehicle operation, safety rules and any applicable laws, regulations and procedures.

• Alcohol and snowball safety don’t mix. Before and during your ride, let “Zero Alcohol” be the motto for you and your fellow riders.

• Avoid getting caught in bad weather; always check the forecast and trail conditions prior to setting out.

• Slow and steady is better than fast and reckless. Lower speeds (less than 40 MPH) are especially critical at night.

• Keep to trails. If going onto private land, never trespass. Ride on private property only with the land owner’s permission.

• Stay to the right on all two-lane trails.

• Obey all traffic signs.

• Use extra caution when crossing roads.

• Riding alone is dangerous in case of accident or disablement. Always invite a friend or friends to ride along on their own snowmobiles.

• If possible, do not ride on frozen lakes or rivers. If you do, wear a life jacket and stay on marked trails.

And don’t forget insurance. Snowmobiles vary greatly, and one-size insurance does not fit all. Models range from entry-level riders to touring, mountain-ready and utility models. There are crossover (or hybrid) snowmobiles and those built for full-on performance, with a range of horsepower from 50 to 177. The purchase price of snowmobiles can be as low as $2,000 to more than $15,000. That's why talking with your Trusted Choice® independent agent should be at the top of your snowmobile planning list.

First, your agent will help you review your unique combination of equipment, usage and riding experience. Then, representing many fine companies, he or she can seek out multiple solutions for your coverage needs, along with recommended options and potential premiums. Then you both can determine the best protection for you at a competitive price.

Safe usage plus proper protection—let the snowmobiling begin!


Sobering Snowmobile Statistics

While more than 2 million people of all ages enjoy snowmobiling in North America, tragically far too many planned recreational outings end in injury or death, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Snowmobiles are not simple snow scooters: They can weigh in excess of 600 pounds and can be capable of speeds exceeding 90 miles per hour. Here are a few pertinent snowmobile findings from the NIH study:

• Average annual fatalities: 200

• Average annual injuries: 14,000

• Most common injury: extremity fracture

• Most frequent cause of death: head injury

• Top causes of accidents: alcohol, driver inexperience and poor judgment.


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