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Motorcycle Safety in the Winter Months: What to Know

November 6 2023 | Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycling becomes a higher-risk activity in Connecticut’s winter months. Motorcyclists face unique challenges and accident risks due to dangerous weather conditions such as snow and ice. If you wish to take your motorcycle out in cold weather, use these tips to keep yourself safe and accident-free.

Inspect Your Motorcycle 

Motorcycles do not operate the same way in cold weather as they do in warmer temperatures. While this might not stop you from going for a wintertime ride, it makes it crucial to inspect your motorcycle ahead of time and equip it properly for the cold. Take the following steps:

  • Winterize your tires. Switch to snow tires, if necessary, and check your tire pressure.
  • Check your fluids and top them off. 
  • Change fluids for colder temperatures, such as by adding antifreeze.
  • Make sure your lights and signals are working and your headlights are clean.
  • Check the charge on your battery.

You should also clean your motorcycle after every ride in the winter. Road salt crystals can cause damage such as rust and corrosion to your motorcycle if left on the metal. Be sure to clean and lubricate your chain to avoid damage caused by salt. Store your motorcycle inside when you aren’t riding, if possible.

Check the Weather

Keep up with weather forecasts before you decide to ride. This can help you plan your route and dress appropriately for the conditions. Take the wind chill factor into account; the wind while riding at higher speeds can make cold temperatures feel even colder. Avoid riding during severe winter weather conditions, such as snowstorms or blizzards. Be prepared to alter your plans mid-ride if bad weather changes for the worse.

Wear the Proper Gear

It is important to stay as warm as possible on your ride. Getting too cold on the back of a motorcycle is dangerous. Wear adequate cold-weather gear, which may include an insulated jacket, gloves, long pants, boots and windproof outer layers. Several layers are important for maintaining body heat. Waterproof gear can also protect you from snow or rain. If you ride often in the winter, you may wish to invest in handle grips that have hand warmers. This can help you stay in control of your motorcycle in comfort.

Reduce Your Speed

Weather and road conditions can be unpredictable in wintertime. You may encounter snow, icy roads, standing water and drivers who cannot see you due to reduced visibility. The best overall safety rule is to reduce your speed. Riding slower than usual can help you avoid dangerous roadway situations and prevent a crash. Reducing your speed can allow you to safely come to a stop rather than having to lay your motorcycle down to avoid a collision.

Stay Vigilant

While you should keep your eyes on the road in any weather, it is especially important to stay vigilant when riding during the winter season. Weather conditions can change suddenly and unexpectedly, and the road may be covered in an invisible layer of ice. Scan ahead of you constantly for hazards and debris. Never ride a motorcycle while distracted or impaired. Keep in mind that other drivers might not be expecting to see a motorcyclist in wintertime and may be less attentive. Stay alert at all times.

If you get involved in a motorcycle accident this winter, contact the New Haven motorcycle accident attorneys at Jacobs & Jacobs for legal advice.

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