Large number of snowmobile accidents reminds sledders to slow down

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MUNISING, Mich. (WLUC) - The Alger County Sheriff's Office has responded to a number of snowmobile accidents recently.

Since Jan. 1, there have been nine personal injury accidents in Alger County, where someone had to be extricated off the trail, including one death. There have also been 18 property damage accidents, where someone hit something but wasn't inured.

A majority of these accidents occur on groomed trails, and speed is usually a factor. Steve Blank, the Undersheriff in Alger County, says there are a number of bridges on these groomed trails. A lot of the bridges have small holes in them and when people try to go fast along these bridges the holes get bigger. Eventually the holes become so big, snowmobiles hit them and go airborne off the trail due to the increased speed.

"I can't stress enough, a lot of our accidents have to do with speed. It's not necessarily that the people are inexperienced drivers - we have a lot of riders who are very experienced - however, with experience comes speed, and with speed comes accidents," says Blank.

Blank reminds people of a few tips to remember when sledding:
- Slow down.
- Travel at your comfort.
- When going around a corner, stay on the right hand side.
- When exiting a snowmobile on a trail, exit to the right; if you exit to the left, someone may be riding behind you and hit you.
- When traveling in a big group, keep a safe distance.