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Enjoy safer snowmobiling this winter

Many Peoria residents like to head out to Jubilee State Park and other outdoor areas in the winter for snowmobiling fun. This cold weather activity can be enjoyable for all ages as long as safety protocols are followed every time.

It only takes a second for a fun family outing to turn into a tragedy. Snowmobiling enthusiasts, park management and the owners of private lands who permit this activity on their property must all do their utmost to avoid dangerous accidents.

Below are some tips for safer snowmobiling this winter:

  • Never ride snowmobiles after or while consuming alcohol
  • Drive defensively on the trails
  • Stay away from ice and open water
  • Stay on the trails
  • Learn basic navigational hand signals
  • Beware of hidden obstacles under the snow
  • Avoid crossing highways on snowmobiles
  • Wear reflective jackets and helmets
  • Don't ride alone
  • Carry an emergency breakdown kit and a charged cellphone

Snowmobilers should also know that under Illinois law, children age 12 to 16 can only drive a snowmobile if they have earned valid Snowmobile Safety Education Certificates of Competency from the Safety Education Section of the state Department of Natural Resources, or a parent, guardian or designated guardian accompany them on the ride.

Despite all of the above precautions, each year riders get injured on snowmobiles. Whether there is a collision between two machines or a rider hits a hidden obstacle under the snow, the injuries can be catastrophic and life-altering.

If your injuries were due to another rider's impairment or negligence or to poorly maintained snowmobile trails, it might be possible to file a claim for damages and recoup some of your financial losses from the accident.

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