(ORILLIA, ON) – The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) remind snowmobilers to keep snowmobile trailers in good condition and to operate them safely, legally and with great caution. With more riders towing snowmobiles greater distances by trailer each winter on public roads, safety is a constant concern. Important trailering tips include:
Watch Your Weight - Every driver should know the maximum towing capacity for the tow vehicle, the maximum load capacity for the trailer being towed and be sure that the weight of sleds, cargo and people does not exceed these limits. It is also necessary to be in compliance with the specific requirements for the weight of a trailer being towed as found in The Highway Traffic Act (HTA).
Secure Your Trailer - Make sure that the ball hitch on your tow vehicle is the right size for the receiver on the trailer and that the lever closes firmly with a safety pin in place to prevent it opening accidentally. Then hook the trailer to your tow vehicle with safety chains by crossing the chains underneath the trailer hitch. Use chains with “S” hooks that have safety clips with closure capability to keep them attached.
Secure Your Sleds - While on a trailer, a snowmobile should be secured with no less than three means of attachment to ensure the snowmobile does not shift in transit or become dislodged in the event of an accident.
Check Your Lights - Check your directional signals and stop lights prior to every trip to ensure they are working properly. Faulty connections due to exposure to weather and elements can be a safety risk to yourself and other drivers.
Check Your Bearings, Wheels and Tires - Lubricate trailer bearings and tighten wheel lugs at least once a season. Before each trip, check tires (including the spare) for cracks, adequate tread and proper inflation.
Get Registered - Make sure the trailer is plated and registered with the Ministry of Transportation (MTO). Even home built trailers have to be registered and plated.
Use Proper Tow Mirrors - Right sized and properly positioned side mirrors are crucial for safe lane changing and keeping an eye on your load while you’re hauling it.
Driving Tips – Make sure your tow vehicle has good winter tires. While towing the additional weight of a loaded trailer, it’s very important to moderate your speed, avoid jamming on the brakes or making sudden manoeuvres, and to stay well back from any vehicle ahead. Be careful while passing, watch out for cross winds, and be sure to swing extra wide on all turns.
For more information on legal trailering: e-laws.gov.on.ca. or www. mto.gov.on.ca
The OPP is committed to saving lives on Ontario’s highways, trails and waterways through the reduction of preventable injury and death. Initiatives are developed and delivered through the Provincial Traffic Safety Program. Visit opp.ca for more information.