Snowmobiling Safety - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Snowmobiling Safety

STEWARTVILLE, Minn. (FOX 47)--  If you've walked outside the last couple of days you've stepped right into that frigid Minnesota weather but there is a silver-lining to our recent storms.

They're perfect for outdoor activities like snowmobiling and though this snow is likely going to bring out more Minnesota snowmobiles, that means there's an increased chance of accidents.
Last year there were six snowmobile-related deaths in Minnesota. That compares to 13 fatalities in 2011 and 19 fatalities in 2010.

It's important to keep in mind that snowmobiles can travel just as fast, if not faster than vehicles.
Jim Zahradnik teaches snowmobiling safety classes in Stewartville and says he's been enjoying the sport since the moment he could walk, but because he's seen it all he knows the importance of being a cautious driver.

"Make sure you have a buddy that you're riding with, also very important- let someone know where you're going so if something would happen and you don't come back at a scheduled time, they'll have a rough idea of where you're at. Some of these areas pretty rough in these areas before we get the snow. Don't ride above your abilities," Zahradnik goes on to say it's a necessity to bring a phone along for the ride and never go snowmobiling on bodies of water unless the DNR has okayed them.

The usual causes of snowmobile accidents are operator inexperience, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and high speeds.

Minnesota's speed limit for all snowmobile trails, public lands and waters is 50 mph.

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