DNR reminds snowmobilers to ride safe - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

DNR reminds snowmobilers to ride safe

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -

Many of central Wisconsin's snowmobile trails are open and busy. But Department of Natural Resources officials say as riders head out, caution is key.

"Set up the best case scenario for yourself as far as surviving the ride and coming back safe," said DNR Snowmobile Safety Administrator, Gary Eddy.

DNR officials said this year they've seen more than a dozen snowmobile-related deaths. The state average is around 19 per year.

Officials said one of the most common causes of snowmobile crashes is speed.

Snowmobile club leaders said it's also important to watch for changing conditions.

"It's deceiving, under the snow there's ice, it looks like it's great conditions but even under the 4-6 inches that we just got, the sleds will find that ice," said Rib Riders Snowmobile Club President, Randy Butalla.

DNR officials said alcohol and snowmobiling at night are also deadly factors.

"They can't react in time to avoid that hazard, whether it be a sharp turn, another snowmobile or something like a deer or a downed tree," said Eddy.

Snowmobilers we talked to said every rider needs to pay attention, no matter how long they've been hitting the trails.

"If you can see through the woods, try to look ahead to the next spot, if you can't, slow down and keep on the right side of the trail," said Snowmobiler, Mark Arndt.

They said taking the time to remind everyone to be safe can prevent more deaths this season.

"We would like to strive for zero deaths in Wisconsin, in every county, every state," said Butalla.

A message that officials hope will stick with riders until these trails close.

 

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