Stay safe while riding Off-Highway Recreational Vehicles by following these commonsense guidelines:
ALCOHOL and riding do not mix.
New Hampshire has strict rules and regulations against operating an OHRV while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Alcohol increases fatigue, affects your fine and gross motor skills, affects your judgment and ability to make rational decisions thus making it dangerous to operate a wheeled vehicle or snowmobile. Remember: if you must drink and ride, drink a soda, juice or water.
Myth-buster: Many people believe in the myth that consuming alcohol can warm up a chilled person. This is not true. Alcohol opens the blood vessels and hides the sensation of being chilled by getting the warm blood close to the skin surface. It does nothing to increase body heat. Instead, alcohol can cool your body down dangerously, increasing the risk of hypothermia.
Manage the Risk
Riding a recreational vehicle has inherent risks. The best way to avoid getting hurt or encountering problems while riding an OHRV is to manage these risks:
- Wear Protective Clothing. The most important piece of protective clothing you can wear is an approved helmet. Make sure the helmet has been approved by either Snell or DOT. If you have any questions about the condition of a used helmet, contact a competent dealer and ask their opinion.
- Know your abilities to ride and do not exceed those levels.
- Identify the capabilities of the machine you are riding and do not exceed those levels.
- Always ride at a speed that is reasonable and prudent for the existing conditions. If you cannot control your machine, you are riding too fast, no matter what the posted speed limit is.
- Know the area you are riding in. Be aware of potential hazards such as washouts and other changing trail characteristics. Get a map of the trails and talk to local riders.
- Always keep an open mind to learning. You’re never too old to learn. Take a class, join a club and ride with a friend.
- Use common sense when riding. Be prepared; carry a first aid and survival kit. Take along some spare plugs and tools that may not be in the machine’s tool kit.
- Let someone know where you will be riding and when you plan on returning. If you run into problems, these extra precautions can be time and lifesavers.
Share the Trail
Many trails are also shared by dog sledders, hunters, cross-country skiers, hikers, equestrians, and others. All trail users should be aware of snowmobiles and each other, as well as dog teams on the trail. Download the brochure Share the Trail, from the NH Mushers Association.