2023 snowmobile death total rising in Michigan

Snowmobile deaths across Michigan are up by five since 2022
Snowmobile riders ridding.
Snowmobile riders ridding.(Wluc)
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 7:31 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - So far, 18 people have been killed in snowmobile crashes in Michigan during the 2022-23 winter season.

That’s already six more than last year with 11 of the 18 crashes happening here in the U.P.

DNR Deputy Public Information Officer John Pepin said there are many reasons for these deaths. However, he believes one main reason is the U.P. gets more snow than most of the country.

Pepin explained that snow brings more people to the U.P. who are unfamiliar with the area and the trails.

“That constitutes a lot of people in our area for snowmobiling,” Pepin said. “Now if they’re coming from other states or downstate they’re not necessarily familiar with our trails, our riding conditions and that’s one thing.”

The DNR also said some of these deaths also involve less experienced riders and speed.

“80% or more of the fatalities that we have are based on driving too fast,” continued Pepin. “One of the most common snowmobile scenarios are someone that’s going too fast around the corner, misses, the corner goes off the trail, strikes into a tree.”

Pepin also said riding during the spring can be dangerous.

The spring’s unpredictable weather makes trails like these mushy and wet. Pepin explained that if you’re going to go ride on these kinds of trails, slow down.

Hiawathaland Snowmobile Club Member Donald Britton added that one way to prevent future deaths is to mind trail etiquette, especially on trails with low visibility.

“Obviously, obey the signs and ride right. A lot of your snowmobile trails are obviously curved trails,” said Britton. “A lot of curved hills, and valleys, and stay to right at all times.”

Both the DNR and the Hiawathaland Snowmobile Club expressed that if everyone rides responsibly, we can keep the number of deaths down in the future.