The Maine Warden Services reported being flooded with calls for assistance due to serious injuries sustained in snowmobile accidents over the course of a recent weekend.
Our Bangor injury lawyers are concerned that proper safety precautions aren’t being followed – either by operators, or land owners who allow such activity on their property. Snowmobiles – just like any other motor vehicle – have the potential to cause permanent injuries and even death. Safety must be a critical consideration for every ride.
In the first reported local case, a 28-year-old from Caribou was traveling on the Interconnected Trail in New Sweden when he struck a moose that stepped unexpectedly onto the trail. The rider was amid a group of nine other riders at the time. He had been wearing a helmet, which sustained heavy damage, but he still incurred serious injuries – as did the moose.
The following morning, another snowmobile crash was reported in Eustice, where an SUV driver lost control of his vehicle and rolled over on the side of the road. A few moments later, a snowmobile rider collided with the upended vehicle. Police have indicated that speed was most likely a contributing factor in why the rider was unable to stop in time to avoid the crashed SUV.
Then in China, just off Stanley Hill Road, two men were on a snowmobile when they struck a bump, causing the driver to lose control. Both men were tossed from the vehicle. Thankfully, they were fine enough to get back on the vehicle and ride it back home, from which they were both taken to the hospital. They suffered moderate injuries, and officers believe speed was a factor in that case too.
Finally, a fourth crash was reported in Limerick, where a 50-year-old snowmobile rider was operating the vehicle in extremely foggy conditions when he crashed into the shoreline. He was ejected and tossed into a nearby shed. He too suffered serious injuries, and speed was a factor in this case as well.
Only about 20 percent of snowmobile vehicles are used for work or ice fishing. The rest are for trail riding and recreational use. In some instances, they provide a primary source of transportation, when a traditional vehicles simply can’t cut it.
But before you climb aboard, take safety seriously and consider these tips to reduce the risk of injury to yourself and others:
- Don’t drink or use drugs and ride;
- Avoid riding at night or in limited visibility conditions;
- Always dress in bright, reflective clothing;
- Avoid riding on frozen lakes, as drowning is one of the leading causes of snowmobile fatalities;
- Ride with UV-protected goggles to prevent “snow blindness”;
- Dress properly and carry a basic repair kit;
- Keep your cell phone close by;
- Wear a helmet;
- Avoid speeding;
- Look out for oncoming snowmobiles, obstacles beneath the snow, unexpected corners or stops, railway crossings, snow banks, bridges, wildlife or other train users.
If you are the victim of a Bangor car accident, contact us at 1-800-490-5218 or read more on our website.
Maine wardens busy with serious snowmobile accidents, Jan. 13, 2013, By Jen Lynds, Bangor Daily News
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NHTSA Touts Decrease in Traffic Fatalities as a Win, But Are We Really any Safer? Dec. 31, 2013, Bangor Accident Lawyer Blog