Trip Length Does Not Affect Risks
- Risk exists outdoors whenever you're separated from other human beings or from the comforts of civilization, such as shelter. Trip length does not affect most risks.
- The risks on short trips can be heightened because they aren't recognized.
- Overconfidence puts even experienced riders at risk. Anyone can get lost or injured.
- Without the means to contact someone or to get back, otherwise simple injuries, such as a simple fall over an unnoticed obstacle, can become life-threatening.
- High-profile rescues have resulted from this short-sightedness, which assumes that everything will go right—an assumption you can't afford in the outdoors.
Whenever you go out, even for a short period:
- Stop. Tell someone where you're going and when to expect you back.
- Ask yourself:
- How well do I know this area and its wildlife?
- Could the terrain contain hidden drop-offs or obstacles concealed by soft snow?
- How much fuel do I have?
- Do I have extra food and water if I can't get back?
- How will I get back if I'm lost, stranded, or injured?
- Should I go into new terrain for the first time without more careful planning?
- Be safe and smart: always tell someone when you go out, and always take a buddy.
- Wear your helmet.