Crawford Co Sheriff's Office
SAFE RIDING HINTS
- Always keep your machine in top mechanical condition.
- Always wear insulated boots and protective clothing including a
helmet, gloves and eye protection.
- Never ride alone.
- Avoid, when possible, crossing frozen bodies of water.
- Never operate in a single file when crossing frozen bodies of
- Always be alert to avoid fences and low strung wires.
- Never operate on a street or highway.
- Always look for depressions in the snow.
- Keep headlights and tail lights on at all times.
- When approaching an intersection, come to a complete stop, raise
off the seat and look for traffic.
- Always check the weather conditions before you depart.
Slow Down - speed is a contributing factor in nearly all fatal
Don't drink - alcohol impairs judgment and slows reaction time.
Make it 'none' for the trail.
Live to Enjoy Michigan's Winter Wonderland
Snowmobiling in Michigan - Winter
A snowmobile is any motor driven vehicle designed primarily for travel on
snow or ice utilizing sled type runners or skis, or an endless belt tread or
similar means to contact the surface upon which it is operated.
A snowmobile shall not be operated in Michigan unless the owner first obtains
a certificate of registration and a registration decal.
A snowmobile owned by a non resident, before operation in Michigan, must
display a valid registration from their home state or province, or be registered
The secretary of state registers snowmobiles for a three year period for a
fee of $ 15.00. The registration cycle begins October 1 and expires on September
30 of the third year following registration.
Any time a registered snowmobile is sold to another person, the registration
must also be transferred. The secretary of state must be contacted to transfer
the registration of a snowmobile.
Snowmobile Trail Permit
In addition to registration of a snowmobile in Michigan or from another state
or province, a person who desires to operate a snowmobile in this state shall
purchase a snowmobile trail permit sticker. The snowmobile trail permit sticker
shall be valid for a period of 1 year which begins October 1 and ends September
30 of the following year.
Snowmobile trail permits are available from snowmobile dealers and many
retail businesses located adjacent to or near the Michigan snowmobile trail
system. Permits are available from the secretary of state at the time of
Snowmobiles are exempt from Registration and the Trail Permit Sticker if
Operated exclusively on lands owned or under the control of the owner, used
entirely in a safety education program conducted by a certified snowmobile
safety instructor or exclusively operated in a special event of limited duration
which is conducted according to a prearranged schedule under a permit from the
governmental unit having proper jurisdiction.
Display of Registration Decal
It is unlawful to operate a snowmobile without having a valid registration
sticker permanently attached and visibly displayed on the forward half of
Display of Trail Permit Sticker
The trail permit sticker shall be permanently affixed to the forward half of
Minimum Equipment Required
Brakes - Each snowmobile must have a braking system that is capable
(a) Stopping the snowmobile in not more than 40 feet from an initial speed of
20 miles per hour while the snowmobile travels on packed snow and carried an
operator who weighs 175 pounds or more.
(b) Locking the snowmobile's traction belt or belts.
Noise - Each snowmobile manufactured after July 1, 1977 shall be
equipped with a muffler which does not exceed 78 decibels of sound pressure at
50 feet as measured by the 1974 SAE J-192a.
Helmet - All persons operating or riding on a snowmobile must wear a
Department of Transportation approved crash helmet.
Lighting - All snowmobiles must display a lighted headlight and
taillight at all times during operation.
Recommended Equipment for Operators and Passengers
- An insulated snowmobile suit.
- Sturdy gloves that provide both hand and finger protection and a secure
grip on the controls.
- Insulated boots for ankle and foot protection
- Tool Kit (knife, pliers, adjustable wrench, electrical tape, plug wrench,
- Flashlight (extra batteries and bulb).
- Matches (candles).
- Disposable blanket (heat reflecting "space" type).
- First aid kit
Restrictions on Youthful Operators
- A person under the age of 12, may not:
- Operate a snowmobile without the direct supervision of the parent or
guardian except on property owned or controlled by the parent.
- Cross a highway or street.
- A person who is at least 12 but less than 17 years of age may operate a
snowmobile under direct supervision of a person 21 years of age or older or
have in their immediate possession a valid snowmobile safety certificate.
- A person who is at least 12 but less than 17 years of age may not cross a
highway or a street without having a valid snowmobile safety certificate in
their immediate possession.
Safety Education and Training
Snowmobile safety training is encouraged for all snowmobile operators. Modern
snowmobiles are capable of high rates of speeds over snow and ice. With the
countless hazards associated with operating a snowmobile, training is a crucial
factor in safe and responsible snowmobile operation.
Operating on a Roadway
- A snowmobile may be operated on the right of way on a public highway
(except a limited access highway) if it is operated at the extreme right of
the open portion of the right of way and with the flow of traffic on the
highway. Snowmobiles operating on a road right of way must travel in a
single file and shall not be operated abreast except when overtaking or
passing another snowmobile.
- A snowmobile may be operated on the roadway or shoulder when necessary to
cross a bridge or culvert if the snowmobile is brought to a complete stop
before entering onto the roadway or shoulder and the operator yields the
right of way to an approaching vehicle on the highway.
- A snowmobile may be operated across a public highway, or other than a
limited access highway, at right angles to the highway for the purpose of
getting from one area to another when the operation can be done in safety
and another vehicle is not crossing the highway at the same time in the
immediate area. An operator must bring his snowmobile to a complete stop
before proceeding across the public highway and must yield the right of way
to all oncoming traffic.
- Snowmobiles may be operated on a highway in a county road system, which is
not normally snowplowed for vehicular traffic; and on the right of way or
shoulder when no right of way exists on a snowplowed highway in a county
road system, outside the corporate limits of a city or village, which is
designated and marked for snowmobile use by the county road commission
- Snowmobiles may NOT be operated on a state highway (i.e. M-72)
Prohibited Operation of a Snowmobile
A person shall not operate a snowmobile:
- While under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance or a
combination of the two.
- At a rate of speed greater than is reasonable for existing conditions
- In a forest nursery, planting area, or public lands posted or reasonably
identifiable as a area of forest reproduction when growing stock may be
damaged or as a natural dedicated area which is in zones 2 or 3.
- On the frozen surface of public waters within 100 feet of a person,
including a skater, not in or upon a snowmobile or within 100 feet of a
fishing shanty or shelter except at a speed required to maintain forward
movement of the snowmobile or on a area which has been cleared for ice
skating, unless the area is necessary for gaining access to the public
- Within 100 feet of an occupied dwelling between 12 midnight and 6 am, at a
speed greater than the minimum required to maintain forward movement of the
- In or upon the land of another without consent of the owner or his agent,
when required by the recreational trespass act.
- In an area open to public hunting during the firearm deer season from 7 am
to 11 am and 2 pm to 5 pm.
- While transporting on a snowmobile a bow unless unstrung or a firearm
unless unloaded and securely encased or equipped with a trigger locking
- On or across a cemetery or burial ground, an airport, a public or private
parking lot, a public highway or street, within 100 feet of a slide, ski, or
skating area, a railroad or a railroad right of way.
- To chase, pursue, worry, or kill any wild bird or animal.
The two contributing factors present in nearly all fatal snowmobiling
Speed and Alcohol Abuse
Modern snowmobiles are capable of high rates of speed far beyond the ability
of a driver to react in sufficient time to take preventive action. All drivers
Slow Down, Don't Drink,
and Live to Enjoy
Michigan's Winter Wonderland.
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