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Michigan DNR offers tips for staying safe outdoors this winter

Published: Dec. 22, 2020 at 7:11 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - It’s officially winter and snow is starting to stick in northern parts of Michigan.

While this season brings a variety of cold weather activities, it’s important to remember they can be quite dangerous. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is offering a number of tips to stay safe outdoors.

In just a few months during the winter season of 2019-2020, a total of 14 people died from snowmobile accidents in Michigan. One person already died on a snowmobile this winter.

“It seems like when you get a dry spell with no snow and then a large amount of snow, there’s a huge influx and people tend to be more wild and reckless,” said Sgt. Cary Foster of the DNR’s law enforcement division.

Foster said Michigan offers lots of great outdoor winter activities, but they can be dangerous if not done properly

“It’s similar to riding a motorcycle. If you end up in a bad situation, there’s not a lot of protection. If you fall off, there’s nothing to protect you,” Foster said of snowmobilers. “Obviously, wear a helmet. But there’s nothing to keep you on it or protect you. Those machines are just so incredibly fast and strong.”

The DNR is continuing it’s “Ride Right” snowmobile safety campaign to highlight the importance of riding sober, at safe speeds and on the correct side of the trail.

Ice fishing shanties are a common sight on frozen Mid-Michigan waterways during the cold weather months. Foster said one of the best ways to stay safe when ice fishing is to always check the forecast before heading out.

“It can be the coldest winter on record and there can still be unsafe ice,” Foster said.

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