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Each year, Connecticut sees intense winter weather, including snowstorms, black ice and hail. Navigating cold, snowy winters as a motorcyclist requires special care and adequate preparation. Winter weather makes motorcycling more hazardous, with wet roads and more limited visibility. Stay safe in Connecticut’s winter weather with these motorcycling tips.
Make sure your motorcycle has what it takes to get you to your destination by engaging in proper bike maintenance. Winterize your motorcycle by investing in good quality snow tires, as well as checking your antifreeze levels, fluids, hoses, chains, lights and other components before you ride. Pay special attention to your tires, as cold weather can compromise traction. In the first 30 minutes of your ride, warm up your tires by traveling slowly. This can give them better traction in cold weather. You can also speed up and slow down at intervals to produce more friction to warm up your tire tread.
Many motorcycle accidents occur each winter in Connecticut due to inadequate planning. Keep up with the weather forecast before you ride. Know your route and if you will encounter any potholes, road salt, wet roads, black ice or other potentially dangerous road conditions. Avoid these routes, if you can. If a bad winter storm is predicted, stay home. You are heavily exposed to the elements as a motorcyclist and do not want to risk getting stuck out in a snowstorm.
Stay warm on the road and improve your safety with the proper gear. Dress warmly for low temperatures with pants, long sleeves, a jacket and layers. Improve your visibility to other drivers in bad weather by wearing bright colors, such as a neon or reflective vest. In case of an accident, wear rider gear that can protect your skin, such as boots and a thick riding jacket. Don’t forget your helmet; wearing a helmet can drastically reduce your risk of a head or brain injury in the event of a motorcycle accident.
As a motorcyclist, you control your vehicle with your hands and fingers. It is important to maintain dexterity in your hands so that you can remain in control of your motorcycle. Keep your hands warm using heated grips, heated gloves and wind guards. If you notice that your hands are becoming cold and stiff on a winter ride, pull over and use hot water or a heater to warm them up. Maintaining proper use of your hands and fingers can help you avoid an accident.
Stopping distances increase considerably on wet and icy winter roads. You can combat this by reducing the speed of your motorcycle in the wintertime. Give yourself ample time to get to your destination so that you can ride at a slower speed. Be prepared to use your brakes or come to a stop at any moment. Keep in mind that winter weather can make it more likely for your motorcycle to lose traction, skid or hydroplane. Reducing your speed and increasing your following distances could help you avoid a rear-end collision.
Black ice is a layer of ice that is thin enough to be invisible to motorists. If you hit black ice on a motorcycle, you could lose control of your vehicle and lay the bike down. Keep a lookout for black ice or pavement that looks wet. If temperatures are below 38 degrees Fahrenheit, black ice could form on wet road surfaces. Avoid snowy pavement, as well, as your motorcycle may slip out and crash.
If you get into a motorcycle accident this winter in New Haven, consult with a motorcycle crash attorney for advice about how to pursue financial compensation. A driver, motorcycle manufacturer or the government may be financially responsible for your wreck.