THUMB AREA — Now that there is some snow on the ground, at least for awhile, outdoor enthusiasts are enjoying it, but Tuscola County Sheriff Lee Teschendorf urges caution for snowmobile riders.
“Because it can take two weeks or more of below freezing temperatures for the ice on lakes, streams and ponds to freeze thick enough to support a snowmobile, riders are urged to stay off the ice,” said Teschendorf. “Never operate your snowmobiles in a single file line when crossing frozen bodies of water. Avoid, when possible, crossing frozen bodies of water.
“Always check weather conditions before you depart, and never ride alone.”
Also, make sure to keep the snow machine in top operating mechanical condition to avoid breakdowns. In subzero conditions like there has been this week with double digits below zero, a machine breakdown could be fatal.
When out riding, always wear insulated boots and protective clothing, including a helmet, gloves and eye protection. Be alert to avoid fences and low strung wires, and look for depressions in the snow.
Never operate your snowmobile on an unauthorized street or highway. When approaching an intersection, come to a complete stop, raise off the seat and look for traffic. Keep headlights and taillights on at all times. Never operate your snowmobile on railroad tracks.
“Snowmobiles must abide by the same regulations as drivers,” said Teschendorf, noting deputies will be out on patrol to make sure Tuscola County residents stay safe this winter.
Never operate your snowmobile while under the influence of alcohol. Always carry a cell phone in case an emergency arises.
While Teschendorf hopes that nobody in Tuscola County will find themselves in such a precarious situation while riding a snowmobile, by heeding those warnings “you can stay alive.”