From the Iowa DNR

Snowmobilers across Iowa are welcoming the return of winter, eager to get out and enjoy the fresh snow. Snowmobiling is a great way to enjoy the outdoors during the winter months, 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 motor vehicle, including snowmobiles, while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can cause traumatic injuries, tragic loss of life, and is flat-out against the law,” said Captain Matt Bruner with the Iowa DNR’s Law Enforcement Bureau. “We recommend snowmobile riders of all ages take a snowmobile safety course, don’t outride your abilities or trail conditions, and perhaps most importantly, don’t drink and ride.”

The following safety tips will 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 or stay home: Trespassing is a major complaint about snowmobilers and can result in trail closure. Always stay on designated snowmobile trails. Venturing off trails can result in accidents. Only ride private property when you have landowner permission.
  • 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.
  • Take a snowmobile safety training course: Designed to educate the student on basic snowmobile operation, laws and regulations, and safety, these classes can help save lives and reduce injuries.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) are teaming up to promote a safe and sober snowmobile season by hosting a booth at the Iowa Winter Games in Okoboji, Jan. 25-28, in Arnolds Park.