|ROAD CROSSINGS ARE SAFER WHEN YOU STAY IN CONTROL
Traffic crossings represent one of the most dangerous moments in snowmobiling and there are many reasons why this is true.
First, crossings usually don’t happen at controlled intersections. That means traffic generally doesn’t have a reason to stop for you to get across… and that means it usually doesn’t stop for you and you have to assume the motorists never see you.
Often traffic won’t be expecting a sled to go squirting across the highway and won’t be prepared to stop or avoid you. Surfaces are often slippery in winter as well, so stopping for a sled is not always possible for motorists.
Sleds don’t have much in the way of handling when they are on pavement either, so they can’t easily be made to swerve to avoid a car or debris in the road. Finally, sleds are a lot smaller and hard to see, so traffic generally won’t react well to you popping out into the lane at many crossings.
To assure your safety at road crossings, always come to a complete stop to check for traffic. Be certain the road is clear before you move into the traffic lanes. If a vehicle seems to be slowing down to allow you to cross, make eye contact with the driver and wait until the vehicle actually comes to a complete stop before you cross. It might be icy.
Second, you are driving a snowmobile, not a pavementmobile. As a result, you can’t steer around on a road crossing very well. Line up your sled to cross at a 90-degree angle to the roadway. Don’t lead yourself out into the road, planning to cut in behind a passing car to save a half second of time. Just wait until it’s clear and go ahead.
Our small vehicles are tough to see when we come out of the woods or come to a stop on the inside slope of a ditch. Make absolutely sure a driver is actually stopping to allow you to cross. Look him in the eye before you go and remember to cross in the post or standing position to give yourself maximum field of view and maximum visibility to passing motorists.
Take your time when you’re at a road crossing. Keep in mind that you are most often crossing at an uncontrolled location and vehicle drivers may not see you sitting there waiting patiently. Use common sense and avoid a “game over.”