Snowmobiling is a way of life here in Maine.

It's true. I live out in the sticks, and as soon as there's enough snow on the ground to bother with, you hear the constant hum of snowmobiles. Between Maine's expensive trail system, and a huge powerline that runs for miles in either direction by my house, there's plenty of places to enjoy some time on the sled.

Inevitably, on a sled you will come to a point where you will need to cross a regular road to stay on the trail. There also may be a fair amount of traffic, meaning cars. So if you're on a sled, needing to cross, who has the right of way? Is there ever a time when the snowmobile has it, and the car should pause?

Maine law is actually pretty specific about this.

It's funny, I saw a person talking about it on Reddit once, and I've experienced this situation before as well. Maine law says: "A person shall bring a snowmobile to a complete stop before entering a public way or a private way maintained for travel." Basically meaning, if you come to a road, you have to stop and wait.

But as the person on Reddit pointed out, and I've also seen, not everyone follows that rule. I've seen sleds whiz right in front of me before crossing Kennebec Road in Hampden. That's not to say those people don't know the law, but are probably more interested in hot dogging it.

Probably not many folks know the actual letter-of-the-law.

On the other hand, sleds don't require any kind of license, so it'd have to be up to folks to look up all these laws on their own. That may not be totally reliable. However, the car always has the right of way. So the sled owner is basically taking all the responsibility at that point.

In any case, when you're out in the boonies, use caution. And hopefully sled owners do the same. As is often the case, it's probably a few bad apples spoiling the barrel. But sled owners should know, if it "happens on the road", there's a good chance the law will see it as your fault. Food for thought...

If you're headed out on the ITS anyway...

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