Before heading out onto frozen lakes, rivers and ponds, you should make sure it’s safe.

As cold as it's been, they might not yet be safe to travel on and concerns are being raised after an ATV rider crashed through ice and died on New Year's Day.

Barry Barnet of the ATV Association of Nova Scotia called it a “very sad very tragic event.”

The ATV community is mourning the loss of one of their riders, who died when he fell through the ice on Lake Charlotte on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia.

“He was on thin ice and with the climate conditions right now melting and freezing, it's very unpredictable,” said Barnet. “Both he and the machine went through the ice.”

The ATV group and search and rescue are both issuing warnings to riders not to venture out on the ice unless it has been tested and cleared for use.

They say the weather has been a big issue this season and has created unstable ice conditions.

If you do go through the ice, Tony Rodgers says it's important the lake not claim any more victims.

“If you're going through the ice, and there's somebody with you make sure that the person doesn't end up in the water with you at the same time and that's a tendency to run out and help,” Rodgers said.“Try to get your breath, that's the first thing that happens; you'll lose that breath.  Concentrate for a minute don't go to the side of the ice that broke. Go to another section of it and get your hands and arms up on the ice, kick your feet up and try to roll off onto the ice and don't get up down stay down roll away from the hole and then when you think it's secure then head to shore.”

That's the best-case scenario, but frigid water can run its course before you get safely to shore.

“You drive too far it into the soft ice and it's very cold,” Barnet said. “Shock takes over and the consequences are in some cases deadly.”

The best advice is to avoid travelling on any lakes or rivers.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Marie Adsett.