Ethics and Safety

Code of Ethics

I will be a good sports enthusiast. I recognize that people judge all snowmobile owners by my actions. I will use my influence with other snowmobile owners to promote fair conduct.

I will not litter trails or camping areas. I will not pollute streams or lakes.

I will not damage living trees, shrubs, or other natural features. I will go out only when there is sufficient snow so that I will not damage the land.

I will respect other people's property and rights.

I will lend a helping hand when I see someone in distress.

I will make myself and my vehicle available to assist search and rescue parties.

I will not interfere with or harass hikers, skiers, snowshoers, ice anglers or other winter sports enthusiasts. I will respect their rights to enjoy our recreation facilities.

I will know and obey all federal, state, and local rules regulating the operation of snowmobiles in areas where I use my vehicle. I will inform public officials when using public lands.

I will not harass wildlife. I will avoid areas posted for the protection of feeding of wildlife.

I will stay on marked trails or marked roads open to snowmobiles. I will not snowmobile where prohibited.

Basic Snowmobile Safety Code

Be sure your snowmobile is in top-notch mechanical condition at the beginning of the winter season and throughout the months of use.

Familiarize yourself with the snowmobile you are driving by reading in detail the manual accompanying the snowmobile.

Wear sensible, protective clothing designed for snowmobiling.

Use a full-size helmet, goggles, or face shield to prevent injuries from twigs, stones, ice chips, and flying debris.

Avoid wearing long scarves. They may get caught in moving parts of the snowmobile.

Know the terrain you are going to ride. If unfamiliar to you, ask someone who has traveled over it before.

Know the weather forecast and especially the ice and snow conditions in the area.

Always use the buddy system. Never ride alone or unaccompanied.

Do not pursue domestic or wild animals. No true sports person would stoop to such conduct. If you see a violation of this rule, report it to the nearest law enforcement officer.

At all times, be sure you have a properly operating lighting system on the snowmobile.

Drowning is one cause of snowmobile fatalities. When not familiar with the thickness of the ice or water currents, avoid these areas.

Don't remove the factory installed air box or muffler to install one that makes more noise. This would lessen the performance of your vehicle. The manufacturer is trying hard, for the betterment of the environment, to develop a quieter machine.

Speed Control

Excessive speed can be very dangerous.

Maintain a two-second interval between you and the sled ahead of you.

During the day, never drive so fast that you cannot stop in the clear area ahead.

During the night, never drive so fast that you cannot stop in the area ahead illuminated by your headlight.

Always be on the lookout for fences and guy-wires.

Alcohol Facts and Myths

Although alcohol has been used since about 8,000 B.C., there are still many myths about alcohol that are not true:

MYTH: Beer is less intoxicating than other alcoholic beverages.

FACT: One 12oz. Can of beer, one 6oz. Glass of wine, or one shot of 80 proof liquor all contain about the same amount of alcohol and have the same effect.

MYTH: A cold shower, a walk in the fresh air, or black coffee will sober you up.

FACT: Once you have consumed alcohol, nothing will sober you up except time. Your body will metabolize about one ounce of alcohol per hour. If you are legally drunk, it will take about seven hours to sober up.

MYTH: It?s easy to tell if someone is too drunk to drive.

FACT: Many experienced drinkers have learned to compensate for alcohol?s outwardly visual effects and can hide their intoxicated condition.

MYTH: You are the best person to judge whether you are fit to drive.

FACT: One of the first things you lose when drinking is your judgment.

Additional Information

ORV Standards and Safety Tips
Maryland Department of Natural Resources

You Make Snowmobiling Safe (pdf)
Brochure from the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association

Ice Thickness and Strength for Various Loading Conditions
Guidelines from the US Army Corps of Engineers

The ACSA - American Council of Snowmobile Associations has excellent Safety Information on their website. Here are a few links to get you started:

Garrett County Snowdrifters Snowmobile Club - McHenry Maryland - info@gcsnowdrifters.org