Updated: March 7, 2013 6:33AM
WOODSTOCK — Several recent cases of snowmobiles falling through the ice in McHenry County have prompted Sheriff Keith Nygren’s office to issue safety warnings for operators and riders of the machines.
During a three-day period earlier this week, the sheriff’s department responded to three reported incidents — two on the Fox River and one on Wonder Lake. None of the incidents resulted in serious injury, although one rider was treated for minor face lacerations and hypothermia.
Nygren said in a press release that officials encourage snowmobile riders to stay off frozen waterways. While cold weather has settled into the area in the past few days, temperatures were above 60⁰just last week, he noted.
That means that ice over waterways has not had an opportunity to build up sufficiently. This is especially true in areas where the water underneath has a strong current or is shallow.
Here are some other safety tips from sheriff’s deputies for snowmobilers:
Don’t drink and ride.
Don’t ride too fast. Keep in mind the terrain and lighting, and proceed at a pace that gives sufficient time to stop.
Avoid traveling over waterways, especially considering the mild weather the area has had much of this winter.
Use marked trails whenever possible.
Don’t ride alone.
Bring a cellphone.
Dress for the weather.