The recent spate of snowmobile deaths in Michigan has drawn focus on safety issues when operating these vehicles.
The MLK holiday weekend saw the deaths of five snowmobilers. So far this winter, nine snowmobilers have died in Michigan.
The Michigan Dept of Natural resources (DNR) reported the statewide snowmobile fatality total for the entire winter of 2017-2018 was 15.
According to the National Weather Service, one of the coldest arctic air mass intrusions in recent memory is surging south into the Upper Midwest, before spreading across much of the eastern two-thirds of the country.
Late this week, frigid temperatures, bitterly cold and life-threatening wind chills are expected, likely leading to widespread record lows and low maximum temperatures from the Upper Midwest to the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley, and with it snow and ice.
Lt. Ryan Aho, a DNR district law supervisor in Marquette. said in a news release, “Many fatalities occur because of drinking and driving, high speed or carelessness, all of which are preventable actions.”
The DNR is partnering with the Michigan Snowmobile Association and others on a “Ride Right” safety campaign this winter.
In contacts with officers, public service announcements and press materials, riders are being reminded to ride on the right side of the trail, at a safe speed and sober. Snowmobilers are also being asked to anticipate, and yield to, trail groomers.
The thrust of the campaign urges riders to ride right so they can make it home safely to their families.
DNR safety and enforcement patrols will continue throughout the winter.