b'VAST NewsGET A GRIP! HANDS ON! Get a Grip!By Stan ChoiniereI have been a safety instructor for over 20 years, and I have stressed to all my students that safety is our first responsibility when riding, followedHands on for safety!closely by respecting the land and landowners. Basic safety rule number one is ride to the right. Along with that is safe speed for the conditions, always staying to your side of corners and maintaining control of your sled. When we meet oncoming traffic, we should all slow down and be certain that we are to the far right. We should be ready to react quickly to the oncoming traffic that may not always be on its side of the trail or may drift into our path. If we need to apply the brake, we need our left hand on the handlebar, not in the air signaling our sled count! I also recommend to my students that they rest a finger or two on the brake lever to avoid any delay when braking is needed. Steering your sled with only one handRemoving your hands from the can be difficult, especially for kids. Ihandlebars while riding is unsafe.cant count how many times I have met oncoming sleds where the ridersVAST discourages the use of countdown hand signalsare more concerned about getting their hand up with some number of fingers raised than keeping their sleds under control. I have seen such riders go off the trail or drift in front of me with panic in their eyes. Also, howVermont Association of Snow Travelers26 Vast Lane, Barre, VT 05641802-229-0005 many times do you see a closed firstwww.vtvast.orgsignaling last sled when there is a line of additional sleds right behind it?So why do it? Does the closed fist giveDirector. You will see postersis not something unique to Vermont; you a green light to ride center, ordisplayed in snowmobile dealershipsmany of you may have already seen left, or cut corners? We must alwaysthroughout New England. A largethis message coming from New ride by the rules and ride defensively,percentage of VAST members areHampshire. The sport there started to expecting the other guy to be on ourfrom out of state, so we want to bringdeliver this message at the end of last side of the trail. the message to them. We have gottenriding season.tremendous support from the dealersSafety instructors and VAST will To put a bigger emphasis on thisthat we polled. The Internationalcontinue to teach and support truly unsafe act, the VAST SafetyAssociation of Snowmobilestandard hand signals. Those are Committee is beginning a campaignAdministrators is also on board withquick and dont require focused on many levels to spread the wordthis initiative. attention from oncoming riders. and to encourage snowmobilers toSigns will be placed at VASTOtherwise, the bottom line is to keep stop this practice. This action wastrailheads/parking areas. Thereyour hands where they belong - on recommended to the VAST Board ofwill be signs at trail intersections,the handlebars, ready to use the brake Directors, and they have given theirand signs may even be posted onquickly if needed. You need both support to move forward with ourthe trails. Safety instructors willhands and arms to steer and to keep message. emphasize hands on the bars foryour sled under control. There will be a public servicesafety. You will continue to see this Always ride smart and safe, respect announcement (PSA) coming frommessage in Snowmobile Vermontthe trails, land, and landowners - and Cindy Locke, VAST Executivemagazine throughout the year. Thisbe an active member of your club!Fall 2019 | 3'