More snowfall this season means more snowmobilers on Wisconsin trails, unfortunately it also increases the risk for fatalities.
DNR Conservation Warden and Snowmobile Safety Administrator Gary Eddy says. “Speed, alcohol and night-time operation are the three most common factors with our fatal accidents.”
With two recent deaths occurring on Wednesday, the total number of snowmobile related death is 14.
Eddy says there were 10 snowmobile fatalities for all of the 2011-12 season, which was nearly non-existent in a large part of the state area due to a lack of snow.
Added to the risk factors for snowmobilers is the seasonal temperature fluctuation, which brings changing ice conditions.
“Ice conditions will begin to deteriorate rapidly,” Eddy says. “Snowmobilers will need to exercise a high degree of caution if operating on late-season ice. The best choice is to stay off the ice altogether.”
Eddy encourages all to:
•Ride with a safety mindset
•Ride under control
•Practice “Zero Alcohol” -- that means refraining from drinking any alcohol until you’re home and done riding for the day.
•Take a safety course. Snowmobile safety certification is required of all operators at least age 12 and born on or after January 1, 1985.
Wisconsin is big for snowmobiling. On average, Wisconsin registers 220,000 snowmobiles and sells more than 20,000 non-resident trail passes.