As many of you already know, snow machines are a popular vehicle of choice for work, short travel, and recreation in Alaska. The rev of the engine below you, the cool wind in your face, and the great speeds these vehicles can achieve make them great fun—and dangerous.
As recreational vehicle injury attorneys in Anchorage, Alaska, we have unfortunately seen many fun days on a snow machine turn ugly, especially if care is not taken. In some cases, other snow machine drivers or, even more often, car and truck drivers are careless around these vehicles. This can cause severe injury.
According to recent statistics from SnowmobileCourse.com, many snow machine accidents and injuries are preventable. A recent study by the company analyzed fatal snow machine accidents in two states (Wisconsin and Minnesota) to collect data on the cause of the crashes.
A major risk that many snow machine operators die from includes riding across a frozen lake or waterway. Across the two states, 30 percent of all snow machine-related fatalities occurred on a frozen lake or river, with 25 percent occurring from breaking through the ice. The other 75 percent came from striking fixed objects, like a dock, rock, ice hut, bridge, or other vehicles.
Here are some more statistics from the study:
- 83 percent of the frozen waterway fatalities occurred at night.
- 75 percent were alcohol- or drug-related. From these statistics, some clear safety tips appear, such as:
- Don’t drink and ride.
- Slow down, especially at night.
- Check the condition of ice before crossing. (You need at least five inches of clearly solid ice.)
- Don’t ride alone.
- Know what to do if you break through ice. I strongly suggest making sure all snow machine owners are insured directly or with an umbrella policy.
If you or a loved one is injured in an Alaska snow machine accident, contact an experienced recreational vehicle accident injury attorney today for the guidance and help you need.