Have fun but remember safety when
enjoying winter sports
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Winter sports are a lot of
fun but, when combined with the cold outdoor weather, can put a
great strain on the body. If you participate in winter sports, it is
important to be in good physical condition and properly dressed for
the weather. It also is important that your equipment is in good
condition. Below are safety tips for your sledding, snowmobiling,
skiing and ice skating.
Sledding | Snowmobiling
| Skiing |
sled, especially one that children use, should have these features:
- Secure handholds
- Easy steering
- No protruding rivets
- No sharp edges
- Bumper or guard over the metal
- No split or splintered wood
- No bent metal parts
- Sled runners that curve around to
the top and connect with the side rails
- Sharp runners that are free from
safety when sledding, follow these simple rules:
- Look over the area where you will
be sledding. Remove any debris from the slope and note the
locations of any bumps. Know how to steer clear of ditches and
- Teach children not to roughhouse,
push or shove others.
- Before starting down a slope,
make sure the person sledding before you is clear from your path,
to avoid accidents. And when you reach the bottom, move quickly
out of the way.
- When walking back up the slope,
use a side path out of the way of other sledders coming down.
- Know how to stop the sled and how
to get off a moving sled safely in an emergency.
- Avoid sledding on roads or
anywhere near traffic. Do not sled on hills that end in a street.
As snowmobiling grows in popularity,
it is important to keep these safety factors in mind when riding.
- Check the fuel and oil levels.
Keep in mind your return trip.
- Make sure the headlights and
- Test the emergency stop switch.
- Move the throttle to make sure it
is not frozen in the "on" position, and check the steering system
to make sure it moves freely.
- Dress appropriately for the
weather. Wear a helmet. Goggles are a must to protect eyes from
branches, thorns, snow and cold. Scarves are not recommended
because they may get caught in the machinery.
- Tell someone where you are going
and when you expect to be back. Never go alone.
start to ride, remember these safety rules:
- Generally, it is unlawful to
drive or operate a snowmobile on Illinois roadways. Contact the
Illinois Department of Natural Resources at (217) 782-6431 or by
TTY, for hearing-impaired use only, at (217) 782-9175 for complete
rules regarding where a snowmobile may be operated.
- Do not drink and operate a
snowmobile. Individuals suspected of operating snowmobiles while
under the influence of alcohol or drugs will be required to
undergo chemical testing. The law is similar to those covering
automobile and watercraft operation. An individual convicted of
operating a snowmobile while under the influence can face a jail
term, fine and suspension of his or her operating privileges.
- Driving a snowmobile is similar
to riding a motorcycle or bicycle: Shift body weight to keep your
balance. You can also use the throttle and brake to control the
- Be prepared for changing weather
- Be careful on ice and travel at
- Do not travel on lakes or rivers
without knowing the ice conditions. To be safe, there should be 8
inches of clear ice. It is best, however, to avoid snowmobiling on
- If you travel onto ice that
breaks, reach forward to the edge of the ice and pull yourself
forward. Do not stand; roll yourself to firm ground.
[to top of second column in this
- Do not stop the snowmobile when
it is pointing uphill because it may become stuck.
- Be cautious going downhill. Keep
the snowmobile under control and be prepared to stop.
- Snowmobiles are not built to
carry passengers. If you do have a passenger, both people's should
be kept on the running board. The person should lean with you when
- Use a rigid tow bar, never a rope
or wire, to tow a person in a snowmobile sled. This will protect
the sled from crashing into the snowmobile during a sudden stop or
- Use the proper hand signals when
turning left or right or when stopping.
- When riding at night, make sure
lights are working and carry a flashlight or flare for
emergencies. Do not travel on unfamiliar ground
- Day or night, be alert for hidden
buy ski equipment, check for these safety factors:
- Be certain the boots fit snugly
but are not tight enough to interfere with circulation.
- Purchase the ski bindings at the
same time you buy the boots, to avoid a mismatch.
- If you are a beginner, use short
skis and take lessons from a qualified instructor.
the slopes, observe the following rules of safety:
- Never ski alone.
- Give skiers below you the right
- Stop on the side of a ski run,
not in the middle. Stay out of the way of skiers coming down
- Wear bright-colored clothing so
other skiers can spot you easily.
- Before passing another skier,
shout, "On your left" or "On your right."
- On a lift or tow, carry your
poles by the shafts.
- If you fall getting off a lift or
tow, get out of the way of skiers exiting behind you as soon as
- When getting off a tow, let go of
the T-bar gently so it does not swing back and hit another skier.
you skate on an outdoor pond or at an indoor rink, keep safety in
mind and use equipment that fits well. Skates that are too loose can
make it difficult to keep your balance. If they are too tight, they
can interfere with circulation. If you skate on a lake or pond, take
these additional safety precautions:
- Do not skate unless the ice has a
uniform thickness of at least 4 inches.
- Have rescue devices, such as a
rope, ladder and blankets, handy.
- Do not skate alone.
Department of Public Health]