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Police sharing snowmobile safety tips as most trails remain closed

While the vast majority of snowmobile trails in Ontario remain closed, the OPP is talking about the importance of driving safely and sober when the trails do open.

According to the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs’ (OFSC) trail guide, around 8,339 km of the OFSC’s over 30,000 km are available as of Thursday morning. Most of what’s available are marked as “limited availability” meaning anyone using those trails needs to ride with caution.

Provincial Constable Joel Devenish says once the trails open up, there are a handful of things all sledders need to do.

That includes keeping your snowmobile license on hand at all times, the sled’s registration, and proof of insurance, as well as always wearing an approved and properly secured snowmobile helmet.

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He adds there are posted speed limits on the trails that must be followed. Also, the police suggest keeping a close eye out for other sledders, slow down, move to the right, and slowly pass when one comes up.

“Avoid driving on frozen lakes and rivers,” says Devenish. “If it can’t be avoided, check ice conditions before you cross or go onto the ice.”

If out at night, he says to drive slow and keep an eye out for fences, guide wires, and other objects that might not catch your eye. He also suggests wearing reflective clothing.

Devenish says to never travel alone and tell someone where you’re going. He suggests keeping your phone in a warm spot so you don’t risk it getting too cold and not working properly.

He adds to never drive impaired. “If convicted of impaired driving on a snowmobile, you will lose your driving privileges for all types of vehicles including motor vehicles, commercial vehicles, and motorcycles,” he explains.

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