The helmet is the most important safety equipment for snowmobile users. In addition, a suitable driving outfit and safe and proactive driving on snowmobile routes promote safe snowmobiling.
Tips for safe snowmobiling
- Prepare for the worst. Get to know the snowmobile and check the driving gear. Prepare for weather and changes in weather. Do not sled under the influence of alcohol.
- Be ready to help. Show your intentions with hand signals to others in good time and be prepared to help where necessary. Make sure you get help and develop your outdoor skills.
- Stay on the right routes. Use snowmobile routes and tracks. Learn how to interpret the map and navigate. Notify your loved ones at least of your route, the legs of your journey and estimated return time. Tell them how to reach you during a snowmobile trip.
- Consider the terrain when you drive. Don’t let the unknown terrain surprise you. Snowmobile is not made for crossing unfrozen waters.
- Cherish the peace of nature and drive on nature’s terms. Pick up your trash from the ground and keep quiet. Respect animals and the peace of nature.
- Develop your skills as a snowmobile driver. Practise driving in a safe environment. Increase your snowmobile driving skills. Join a snowmobile club or acquire experience by listening to more experienced snowmobile drivers.
- For emergencies, download the 112 Finland mobile app on your phone (Opens in a new window).
The helmet is the most important safety equipment for snowmobile users. The helmet provides protection not only from accidents but also from winter conditions and keeps your head warm.
A good helmet is comfortable to wear and it is safe when the size is right. The helmet must feel tight. Even a good helmet will not offer protection if the strap is not fastened or hangs loose.
A good helmet has a sufficient number of air inlets, exhaust openings and air circulation ducts. The visors of some helmet designs provide electrical heating to prevent fogging. A separate helmet hood is worn under the helmet. The hood must be a suitable size and breathable.
When purchasing a helmet, try different models and sizes. Take advantage of the vendor’s expertise and other snowmobile users’ experiences of the good and bad aspects of different helmet models. A model with fixed chin protection is a good choice for sports snowmobiling. There are special helmet models designed for professional use. For all helmet models, ear plugs should be worn to protect your hearing from excessive noise. Pay attention also to the colour of the helmet, because bright and easily distinguishable colours provide extra protection for snowmobiling.
Good driving goggles add to the comfort of wearing the helmet. The choice of goggles is greatly affected by the shape of the face and the helmet used. The goggles protect your face and eyes from cold and wind while driving. Good ventilation of the goggles is important to prevent fogging. Attention should be paid to cleaning and storing the driving goggles. With caution and care, the service life of the goggles can be extended. The colour of the lenses also matters. Light lens colours are suitable for those driving in low light. The yellow colour is also well suited to dusk, and the orange lens is a good universal lens. The blue lens works the least well in snow conditions.
Prepare for challenging conditions with a snowmobile suit
The snowmobile driver’s clothing consists of several different items. The intermediate layer over a layer of underwear that transfers moisture away from the skin is important for heat regulation. For example, fleece or thin wool is a good intermediate layer. Many snowmobile suits have a detachable inner lining that serves as a good intermediate layer. The shell layer, i.e. the outer part, must be made of a windproof and waterproof but also breathable material.
With signal colours and reflectors attached to the driving suit, the snowmobile driver is provided with additional protection. There are currently separate armoured guards that are placed under or over the driving suit to provide additional protection. The guards protect the shoulders, back and chest. In addition to anti-shock equipment, anti-deformation knee and head braces are becoming increasingly common. Sprained ankles and minor foot injuries are alleviated by appropriate snowmobile footwear.
Snowmobiling gloves must be such that they do not interfere with the effective use of the snowmobile controls under any circumstances. Good snowmobile footwear, on the other hand, is warm and at least partly waterproof.
Snowmobiling in a group
The snowmobile safari is a popular excursion mode when there is a need to drive across the terrain in a group of several snowmobiles. It is essential that everyone taking part in the excursion is familiar with and complies with the common codes of conduct agreed before the excursion.
Leader for the group
When travelling in a group, a leader should be selected for the group. When preparing for the excursion, the group leader is responsible for making the rules clear and giving clear instructions for the participants to comply with. The group leader also serves as the contact person for the route planning and the equipment to include.
The route must be designed to suit everyone taking part in the excursion. On the other hand, the route should also be meaningful for experienced snowmobile drivers. The route must be safe. The timetable for the route must be designed so that there is time to take the necessary breaks. The distances between the snowmobiles in line must be kept large enough.
When selecting a snowmobile, the driver’s driving experience must be taken into account. The driver must train sufficiently before the excursion to be able to control the snowmobile. The group leader shall ensure that participants dress in accordance with the conditions and use other appropriate snowmobile equipment. Even when snowmobiling in a group, the necessary snowmobile spare parts should be at hand, and the group must be able to carry out minor repairs in the terrain.
The group must know where to drive and be able to locate itself on a map for potential rescue measures. Snowmobile drivers in a group must also have an appropriate communication device for a possible call for help.
Common hand signals
Common and pre-agreed hand signals make driving easier and more secure. In order for the message to be understood, each person should give a signal at approximately the same point before the destination, to indicate that point. For example, before arriving at a crossing, each person gives a sign to the people behind at a time agreed on in advance.