Crawford Co Sheriff's Office  

Snowmobile Safety



  • 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 water.
  • 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 accidents.
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 Wonderland

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.

Registration Requirements

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 in Michigan.

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.

Contact the secretary of state to register your 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 registration renewal.

Snowmobiles are exempt from Registration and the Trail Permit Sticker if they are:

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 the snowmobile.

Display of Trail Permit Sticker

The trail permit sticker shall be permanently affixed to the forward half of the snowmobile.

Minimum Equipment Required

Brakes - Each snowmobile must have a braking system that is capable of:

(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

Emergency Equipment

Restrictions on Youthful Operators

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

Prohibited Operation of a Snowmobile

A person shall not operate a snowmobile:

Accident Prevention 

The two contributing factors present in nearly all fatal snowmobiling accidents are:

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 should:

Slow Down, Don't Drink,

and Live to Enjoy

Michigan's Winter Wonderland.


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