Operation Safe Snow
DNR wardens to be on northern Wisconsin snowmobile trails to promote safe operators
Snowmobilers will see more Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources conservation wardens on the northern Wisconsin trails this month promoting safe, sober and smart driving following a rash of serious injury and fatal snowmobile accidents.
One death is too many in any snowmobile season, said Lt. Dave Walz of Woodruff. So far Wisconsin has had five fatalities and as many injuries.
“Our goal is to educate and focus on the common cause of crashes; speed and alcohol. (We’ll be) stressing safety tips to keep everyone of all ages out on the trails happy and having fun,” Walz said of the pending planned patrols.
DNR conservation wardens will do their enhanced patrols in the counties of Iron, Price and Ashland.
Walz says speed and being under the influence of intoxicants have been factors in the serious crashes so far in the early season.
“These are the two leading causes of snowmobile accidents and will be the priority of our increase patrols,” Walz stated. “Long-term data shows that seven of 10 snowmobile fatalities involved alcohol.”
- The advice is the same for any vehicle – stay sober. “You can enjoy your favorite beverages after a fun day on the trails and you’re done driving,” Walz said.
- Operators are reminded the nighttime speed limit for snowmobiles is 55 mph on all areas – private and public trails and frozen water. “The key here is to not over-drive your headlights,” Walz said. “Trail corners can get very icy so slow down and stay on the extreme right side of the trail.”
Walz says all should be prepared to see more wardens on patrols on the trails.
“Our goal is to promote and encourage safe operation for all snowmobilers on our trails,” Walz said. “We’re are focused on education, but if appropriate, will take enforcement action to remove intoxicated operators off the trails to make sure everyone is enjoying the trails and other outdoor pursuits safely.