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Snowmobile Safety, Training, and Reporting Accidents

Snowmobile riding can be a risky sport. Before you ride, learn how to properly use all the mechanical controls and safety devices of your vehicle. Read your owner’s manual. Most importantly, take a safety course before riding.

Safety Training Requirement for Youth Riders

Each year, hundreds of youth are involved in snowmobile accidents, some resulting in death. While riding these vehicles is fun, it also can be very dangerous.

Because of a child’s leg and arm length, hand size, and strength, it is often difficult for children to properly control an adult-sized vehicle. Children driving snowmobiles should always be under the direct supervision of a responsible adult. Keep in mind:

  • Children often emulate parental behavior -- set good examples
  • Children often underestimate the danger and risk because of inexperience
  • Children often overestimate their skill level

It is mandatory that all youth ages 10 -15 take an approved snowmobile training course if they are planning to use their vehicle off of their parent’s or guardian’s property. No child under the age of 10 is allowed to operate a snowmobile on public lands.

For information about youth training, call DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry at 717-783-7941, or the Pennsylvania State Snowmobile Association at 1-888-411-7772.

Snowmobile Riding Safety Tips

Keep your ride safe and fun by following these safety tips:

  • Wear a helmet and eye protection at all times and other protective clothing suitable to the environment
  • Do not let young or inexperienced riders operate snowmobiles without training and supervision
  • Do not use alcohol or other drugs when you ride
  • Learn proper riding skills from an instructor or qualified rider and practice such skills before riding
  • Always maintain a safe distance between riders -- tailgating can lead to collisions and injuries
  • Ride with others and let someone know where you are riding -- never ride alone
  • Obey the laws
  • Stay on trails designated for snowmobiles
  • Be informed of local weather conditions and dress and equip yourself appropriately
  • Know the area you are riding in -- be aware of its potential hazards
  • Always ride at a safe and responsible speed -- know your abilities and don’t exceed those levels
  • Make sure your equipment is in top working order -- check before heading out
  • Carry a map of the trail or area you intend to travel
  • Clear snow dust off your snowmobile tail lights at frequent intervals

Reporting Snowmobiling Accidents

If you are involved in an accident that results in the injury or death of any person, or property damages to the estimated amount of $100 or more, you must report the matter using the Snowmobile/ATV Accident Form (PDF) within seven days to the:

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Bureau of Forestry
P.O. Box 8552
Harrisburg, PA 17105

It is a violation of the Snowmobile/ATV Law not to report an accident.

If involved in an accident, you must stop and give your name and address, the name and address of the owner of the vehicle, and its registration number to the other person(s) involved in the accident or to a police officer.

Accident forms are also available upon request from:

  • Snowmobile/ATV Section
  • Bureau of Forestry
  • Bureau of State Parks
  • State police stations

You can be held liable for injuries or death or damage to property resulting from the negligent use of your vehicle.