About the Study Guide

You are looking at a preview of what’s in the timed Wisconsin Snowmobile Ed Course. Feel free to look around, but you’ll need to register to begin progress toward getting your Snowmobile Safety Certificate.

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Stopping a snowmobile is trickier than stopping a wheeled vehicle on a street or trail. To ensure that you can stop safely in any situation, you must be able to calculate a safe speed based on stopping distances.

  • Maintaining a safe speed allows you to control your machine and stop in time to avoid a collision.
  • The greater the speed, the greater the stopping distance.
  • To determine a safe speed, you must know stopping distances and how to factor in sight distance and reaction time.

Sight Distance

  • Sight distance is the distance from which you can see and identify a hazard, not necessarily the total distance you can see. You often see an object before you’re able to identify it as a hazard.
  • If the stopping distance to an object is greater than the sight distance, you’re in danger of hitting the object.

Reaction Time

  • Reacting to a sudden need to stop involves these steps:
    • Seeing something
    • Recognizing it’s a hazard
    • Deciding what to do
    • Braking or steering around the object

Reaction Time Distance

  • Reaction time distance is the distance the snowmobile travels during the time it takes you to react.
  • The distance depends on the reaction time (in seconds) and speed (in feet per second), and is calculated as: Reaction Time Distance=Reaction Time x Speed.
  • Accidents occur in just a few seconds, so think of your speed in feet per second (multiply mph by 1.46667).
    • 15 mph = 22 feet per second
    • 30 mph = 44 feet per second
    • 45 mph = 66 feet per second
    • 60 mph = 88 feet per second
  • At 30 mph with a reaction time of three seconds, the reaction time distance is 132 feet (3 sec. x 44 ft./sec.).

Reaction Time Distance = [Reaction Time] x [Speed]