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Safe ORV and snowmobile riding

four wheeler and side by side driving in woods

Safe ORV and snowmobile riding

Ride Right

Based on 2023 statewide ORV crash data:

  • 93% of ORV fatalities could have been prevented.
  • 77% of fatalities involved either no helmet or no seatbelt.
  • All juvenile fatalities were operating without parent supervision.
  • All fatalities occurred on private property or on a county road.

Important safety tips:

Keep in mind that on some routes, private property owners generously allow trails to navigate through their properties. More than 400 miles of snowmobile trails have been lost due to noise or trespassing.

  • Operate within the limits of your snowmobile/ORV and your own abilities.
  • Ride at a safe speed.
  • Ride sober.
  • Ride on the right side of the trail; trails have two-way traffic.
  • Always wear a helmet.
  • Keep lights on while riding.
  • Ride with your group’s most inexperienced rider in mind.
  • Keep a safe distance from the rider in front of you and use caution in dust clouds.
  • Only transport a passenger if the machine is manufactured to carry a passenger. 
  • Come to a complete stop at all intersections. Raise off the seat and look both ways for traffic before proceeding.
  • Create a ride plan (times, route location and check-in points) and share it with others.
  • Stay on the trail and be prepared to adjust for changing environmental conditions.
  • Use designated stop areas if you need to stop on the trail and remove your helmet. Never stop side-by-side, in the middle, at the crest of a hill, on a corner or in an intersection.
  • Always yield to uphill motorized traffic. Uphill traffic may have difficulty starting again if stopped.
  • Share the trail. Some designated snowmobile trails are also open to ORVs and other (nonmotorized) users.
  • Nonmotorized trail users have the right-of-way. If you see nonmotorized trail users coming from the opposite direction, pull over and yield.
  • Snowmobilers should watch out for, and yield to, trail groomers and avoid modified exhausts.

During the 2022-23 snowmobile season, there were 204 reported crashes, including 19 fatalities, of which 63% involved drugs or alcohol.