The Liability of Snowmobiling Safety

Snowmobiling is an activity enjoyed by many Maritimers. However, it’s also one of the more dangerous winter sports in Canada. Like any activity that sees you operating a machine, preparation can make all the difference.

Man and woman riding on snowmobile

The Canadian Institute for Health Information reported that from 2011-2012 there were 1,126 Canadians admitted into hospitalization due to a snowmobiling accident, compared to 1,114 hockey-related hospitalizations. The Canadian Paediatric Society states: “In Canada, snowmobiling is associated with the highest rate of serious injury of any popular winter sport.” 

Some of the risks of snowmobiling stem from the conditions in which they’re operated, such as off-road landscapes and an isolated terrain. Operators face a host of potential risks that include flooded or damaged trails, frostbite, and the early-setting winter sun. According to the Snowmobilers Association of Nova Scotia, nine out of ten snowmobiling fatalities occur after dark. 

In an interview hosted by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, snowmobiling instructor John Blaicher of Go Snowmobiling recommends three ways that snowmobilers can reduce their risk of getting into an accident: get proper training, wear proper snowmobiling gear, and stay on designated trails for snowmobiles. Blaicher goes on to reveal that “90% of snowmobiling incidents occur off-trail.”

Snowmobiles are designed as off-highway vehicles. When used safely on designated trails, they can be an enjoyable winter-time activity. It’s only when snowmobiles come close to roadways that the potential for a serious accident to occur increases. Though certain snowmobiling trails do go over roadways, only operators with proper permits and adequate training are safe to ride on those trails, as they pose significantly increased risk. 

This winter, practice safe snowmobiling. For more information regarding snowmobiling safety, the Government of Nova Scotia has a complete list of all snowmobiling rules and regulations that outlines appropriate operating gear and equipment, age requirements, and how to pursue proper vehicle insurance types.

If you have been injured due to a snowmobiling accident, contact us here, or call 1-888-434-0398. 

More resources on snowmobiling safety:

Snowmobilers Association of Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia OHV Handbook

Ontario Ministry of Transportation: Snowmobiles