Practice Snowmobile Safety Especially During Winter Storms


Fenton, MI — December 22, 2022

The National Weather Service is predicting a snowstorm to arrive in the Great Lakes region Thursday-Saturday with the potential to drop a decent amount of accumulation. That’s favorable for snowmobile conditions, particularly in the Lower Peninsula. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds all snowmobilers to use great caution and “Ride Right” so they can safely return home to family and friends.

“Many people will be jumping on their snowmobiles for the first time this season,” said Cpl. Mike Hearn, snowmobile and off-road vehicle specialist, DNR Law Enforcement Division. “The forecast, combined with the excitement of the holidays, is creating a scenario in which conservation officers often see avoidable accidents. People are excited, riding fast, hitting drifts, and often riding outside their capabilities. We want to remind everyone to ride sober, at a safe speed, especially near curves, and to ride within your and your machine’s capabilities.”

Photo courtesy of Michigan DNR

Snowmobile Safety Tips

  • Riding on the right side of the trail or road.
  • Riding with your machine’s lights on.
  • Watching for and yielding to trail groomers.
  • Ensuring your machine is in good working condition before you ride. Leaving a ride plan, including details about where you’re going and when you’ll return, with someone who is staying home.
  • Riding at a safe distance behind the person in front of you, snowmobiles may have a delayed stop time due to sliding on ice or snow. This is particularly important for riders operating in low visibility caused by snow.

Trails permits are required for snowmobiles operating on the trail system and may be purchased online. Conservation officers encourage operators to carry a proof of purchase until the permit that needs to be affixed to the snowmobile arrives in the mail.

Observe Sound Ordinances

Additionally, snowmobile exhaust sound emissions should be 88 decibels or under.

“This is important because many public snowmobile trails are connected by portions of private property, but only because the property owners have granted that access,” said Lt. Tom Wanless, DNR Law Enforcement Division. “Frustration with overly loud snowmobiles is one of the primary reasons they rescind permission, which means all snowmobilers lose access routes to certain trails.”

A snowmobile safety certificate is required for operators under the age of 16 who will be riding on the trails unsupervised or when crossing roadways. Everyone is encouraged to earn a recreational safety certificate, which can be completed online.

There has been one reported snowmobile fatality this season.

Read more about safety, find places to ride, and purchase your trail permit at