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#169323 - 03/14/09 02:58 AM Stupid Snowmobile Accident Today!
SwampDonkey Offline

Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 1268
Loc: Northeastern Ontario, Canada
Today was a nice sunny winter day and I did not want to waste it in the office, so I headed out to do some remote work by snowmobile. The conditions were perfect for traveling (did about 100km) and I was accessing lots of sites easily, but on the big lakes there were many patches of glare, slippery ice between the rough snow sections.

In the late afternoon I was doing a wide sweeping turn out of a bay when I drove off a hardpacked snow section and the carbide ski-runners bit into a smooth sheet of ice. Because I was in a right turn at about 60km/hr the rear-end of the snowmobile instantly spun around to the left and launched me off the machine.

From what I remember and judging by what hurts now; I hit the ice with my the left side of my head first, then my elbows, then my left hip and knee. I thought the snowmobile was going to land on top of me, but by luck it spun away to the right and even stayed up-right. I laid on the ice for a while trying to get my head straight, I tried to get up a couple times but my body was just not able to function yet.

I was about 3 km down the lake from a group of occupied ice huts and I had intermittent radio communication back to my work centre, so I was not completely cut-off.

I had a large survival/first-aid kit on the snowmobile, plus a small PSK in my pocket and a mini-kit on my belt, they were all of little use at this time because for about 5 minutes I could not even sit-up.

I flexed and moved parts of my body to check if anything was badly broken, lots of parts hurt but all seemed to work. After about 5 minutes I managed to sit-up and then slowly stand-up. My snowmobile was still running and after a quick contact with work on the radio, I called it a day and carefully made it back to my truck; where I loaded the sled and then drove home. Had a major headache and sore lower back!

The only physical damage was a cracked LCD screen on the 2-way radio that was on my hip, that is also the part of my body that now hurts the most.

The best move I did all day was wearing a quality full-face helmet, if I had not been wearing a helmet I would be dead.

I probably should not have tried to turn so sharply on glare ice and traveling with a partner would also have been a good idea.

I think it is my mistakes that I learn from the most?


#169325 - 03/14/09 03:04 AM Re: Stupid Snowmobile Accident Today! [Re: SwampDonkey]
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
"I think it is my mistakes that I learn from the most?"

Of course! I think it's a law of some kind. I'll bet it will be a looooooong time before you forget this little episode.

You don't learn as much from your successes unless you dislocate your shoulder patting yourself on the back.

Fate just gave a little finger flip. Maybe you were getting too cocky?

Good move with the helmet. I hear those steel plates in your head always set off the airport alarms.


#169327 - 03/14/09 06:52 AM Re: Stupid Snowmobile Accident Today! [Re: Susan]
Tom_L Offline

Registered: 03/19/07
Posts: 690
Like they say, experience is a hard teacher. At least you managed to get back in one piece. With a little bad luck it could've ended up a whole lot worse...

#169331 - 03/14/09 11:50 AM Re: Stupid Snowmobile Accident Today! [Re: SwampDonkey]
Blast Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3561
Loc: Spring, Texas
As I was reading your post I was thinking to myself, "Man, I hope he was wearing a helmet." Good to know you were! Does your company issue you the helmet?

I know with motorcycle helments the guideline was if the helmet hit the ground in an accident it had to be replaced even if it looked okay. The impact stresses would cause microfractures in the hard shell, weakening it so that the next time it could fail catastrophically.

Is this the same with snowmoblie helemts? Especially since it hit the ice.

Blogging the Borderlands
Wild Edibles Blog
I miss OBG.

#169333 - 03/14/09 12:28 PM Re: Stupid Snowmobile Accident Today! [Re: Susan]
wildman800 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 2811
Loc: La-USA
Thanks Sue, I always wondered why the alarms ALWAYS go off and then I get a major search of my body everytime that I fly!

I have found that when I am getting too cocky, God provides me with a healthy dose of humility!

SwampDonkey, I am glad that you were wearing a helmet also. Damage to ice fields this late in the year isn't repairable. It sounds like it is a good time to sit beside a lighted fireplace, have a hot drink, and relax while the bruises heal. Thanks for sticking around!
The best luck is what you make yourself!

#169334 - 03/14/09 02:20 PM Re: Stupid Snowmobile Accident Today! [Re: wildman800]
SwampDonkey Offline

Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 1268
Loc: Northeastern Ontario, Canada
Hi All,

Thanks for the nice replies.

Yes my employer does issue me my helmet and the one I was wearing is a new modular version that I received last year. It shows no sign of damage (I will have to check it closer for "micro-cracks) but the clear lake ice where my head hit was sure cracked-up.

The left side of my head/face is still sore/numb this morning and my hip is bruised where my radio was.

I know as I was not thinking about turning the snowmobile on the changing ice surface when the machine spun, because I was looking ahead at an approaching narrows to check it for open water there.

My safety gear (helmet) saved my life yesterday. If the impact did not kill me then I would have been left laying on the ice alone as night approached.

My wife is after me today to build shelving in the basement to store my outdoor gear, I tried playing the sympathy card but it is not working.


#169341 - 03/14/09 07:07 PM Re: Stupid Snowmobile Accident Today! [Re: SwampDonkey]
nurit Offline

Registered: 03/27/08
Posts: 191
Loc: NYC
SwampDonkey, even if you were wearing a helmet when you struck your head, shouldn't you go get an examination for possible head injury?

Medical folks, if this is incorrect please say so. Thanks.

#169343 - 03/14/09 07:39 PM Re: Stupid Snowmobile Accident Today! [Re: nurit]
scafool Offline

Registered: 12/18/08
Posts: 1534
Loc: Muskoka
It is easy to forget how fast you are going.
May set off to explore without any sense of direction or how to return.

#169351 - 03/15/09 01:36 AM Re: Stupid Snowmobile Accident Today! [Re: scafool]
Mike_in_NKY Offline

Registered: 05/22/07
Posts: 121
Loc: KY
Glad I don't live where you can use a snowmobile in March!! grin

Good to hear that you will be ok, lesson learned.

#169356 - 03/15/09 03:50 AM Re: Stupid Snowmobile Accident Today! [Re: nurit]
SwampDonkey Offline

Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 1268
Loc: Northeastern Ontario, Canada
Thanks for the concern nurit, we will see how my head feels tomorrow, left side of my face is still numb and swollen.

March is great snowmobiling up here, it gets a little slushy in April, and almost never have any snow on the ground in May.


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