|SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Many snowmobile accidents are preventable, and authorities in Illinois are urging operators and riders to take extra caution.
Last winter, there were 11 reported snowmobile accidents in the state, resulting in three deaths.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is urging people to take a safety class before their first ride. Online courses are also available.
The department has put out some safety tips. They include knowing your equipment, wearing a helmet to prevent injuries from flying debris and avoiding long scarves that can become caught in the vehicle's moving parts.
It says more than 50 percent of snowmobile fatalities in North America involve intoxicated operators.
Drowning is another cause of snowmobile fatalities, and the department is warning people to avoid areas when not familiar with the thickness of ice.