As the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) kick off Safe Snowmobile Week, they have a stern warning to snowmobilers against risky driving habits, especially when travelling on frozen waterways.

The winter of 2016-17 saw a 15-year high in the number of fatalities due to poor judgement and taking risks. The most prominent culprits were thin ice and open waterways.

“The vast majority of the 27 snowmobilers who died took unnecessary risks instead of making it a safe, enjoyable ride that got them home safely to their families,” said OPP Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair, who also serves as Traffic Safety and Operational Support provincial commander. “Speeding, driving too fast for the conditions, consuming alcohol, riding on unsafe ice and other risky behaviours are what lead to snowmobile deaths every year.”

““Snowmobiling occurs in an unpredictable and uncontrollable natural setting with inherent risks that demand constant rider preparedness, vigilance, caution, unimpaired reaction and smart decisions,” added Lisa Stackhouse, OFSC participation and partnership development manager.

Safe Snowmobile Week runs from Jan. 20-28 and drivers are urged to adopt “constant rider preparedness” and employ utmost caution and vigilance when operating their vehicle. For safety tips, visit: www.ofsc.on.ca/experience/go-safe

For information, visit: www.opp.ca

Linnea Friberg photo

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