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Snowmobiling is a very popular pastime in Illinois during the winter months. Sources note that it common for 300 to 400 riders to grace the trails on an average Saturday when conditions are good in the winter. However, did you know that in February 2013, there were eight snowmobile crashes in Northwest Illinois? This winter, Illinois Conservation Police have already responded to 13 snowmobile accidents across the state. The number of accidents is growing each season.

This year, one accident claimed the life of a motorist when his snowmobile struck a tree near Orangeville, Illinois. In another accident, a mother was severely injured after her 9-year-old daughter drove a vehicle into a building. With a few more weeks of snow in sight, authorities warn snowmobilers to be cautious on trails.

Safety advocates explain that the majority of snowmobile accidents have been alcohol-related. Furthermore, many crashes involve inexperienced motorists riding in unfamiliar conditions. To help reduce the growing crash numbers, it may help to be familiar with state laws and general safety practices.

Illinois snowmobile laws

There are a number of laws that help enforce safe riding. For example, riders who are at least 12 years of age but less than 16 are required to take an Illinois-Approved Snowmobile Safety Course and obtain a snowmobile safety certificate when riding on public roads. Such course familiarizes young drivers with safety rules and regulations. Furthermore, Illinois law mandates that a parent or adult guardian must accompany riders under the age of 12.

Moreover, some state laws speak to snow conditions. For instance, a minimum accumulation of four inches of snow must be present for snowmobile use on state-managed property or trails. Such laws ensure that conditions are sufficient for safe vehicle operation.

Safety tips

Before venturing out onto Illinois' snowmobile trails, it is important to follow safe riding practices. Good habits will help prevent serious accidents.

The following tips can protect riders:

  • Riders should wear helmets and requisite safety gear while riding
  • Snowmobiles should be properly registered in accordance with state laws
  • Riders should reduce speeds at night, in icy conditions or areas with reduced visibility
  • Riders should never operate a snowmobile under the influence of alcohol or drugs

All snowmobile drivers should employ these safety practices.

If you have been injured by a snowmobiler who has neglected safe riding practices, you deserve compensation for your injuries. To find out more about your potential recovery options, contact an experienced personal injury law attorney.

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