blog home Motorcycle Accident Attention, motorcyclists: Here’s how to stay safer this winter

Attention, motorcyclists: Here’s how to stay safer this winter

By John Singleton on December 15, 2022

Enjoying a nice motorcycle ride in the fresh Virginia winter air is exhilarating. But colder weather, dangerous road conditions, and reduced visibility create greater challenges for motorcycle riders.

Taking a few precautions will help you stay safer and warmer while riding your bike in the cold. Remember to do your winter maintenance, wear the right clothes and gear, change your driving habits during the winter months, and take steps to avoid hypothermia.

Get your bike ready for winter

One of the best ways to prevent problems on the roadway is to get your bike winter-ready before the harsh weather sets in.

  1. A good windshield is essential for protecting you against wind chill. If you don’t have a bike that’s already equipped with a windshield, aftermarket ones are available.
  2. Remember to keep your windshield clean.
  3. Check to make sure your electrical system is working properly so your bike will be ready to start in cold weather and check that all your lights are visible.
  4. Make sure your motorcycle has the following:
  • Brakes with ABS and traction control
  • All-season radials or winter rated tires
  • A handlebar thermometer
  • Correctly mixed antifreeze
  • Well-functioning headlight, taillight, and safety lights

Choose the best winter gear

When selecting the right gear and clothing for winter riding, consider two things: keeping warm and making yourself more visible to others. After all, motorists aren’t expecting to see a lot of motorcycles on a cold day, and winter weather conditions do reduce visibility. Here are steps you can take:

  1. Wear bright colors and reflective clothing. Some riders think dark clothing will make them stand out against the snow, but this isn’t true.
  2. Layer your clothes to help stave off chilly weather.
  3. Wear fabric next to your skin such as nylon that draws away moisture.
  4. Make sure your winter riding wardrobe includes:
  • Heavy boots
  • Winter-rated gloves
  • A helmet with a face shield
  • A neck warmer
  • A thick, warm coat

Develop more cautious winter riding habits

Wintertime weather creates snow, ice, fog, sleet, and rain, which all make it more dangerous to ride a motorcycle. Tires also have less traction when they’re cold.

  1. When you start your ride, give tires a chance to warm up.
  2. Reduce your speed to adapt to weather conditions.
  3. When riding in dangerous conditions, increase your stopping time beyond two to three seconds to give yourself a bigger cushion in case someone ahead of you stops suddenly.
  4. Use your mirrors to make sure the driver behind you isn’t getting too close.
  5. Avoid riding in the snow, and watch out for patches of ice on the road. Even when it’s sunny outside, invisible patches of black ice can be treacherous.
  6. Watch out for these hazards:
  • Morning frost
  • Tailgaters
  • Stalled vehicles
  • Trucks treating roads with ice or snow
  • Icy road conditions
  • Road salt, sand, and cinder
  • New cracks or potholes in the road

Avoid hypothermia

Hypothermia is a life-threatening condition that happens when body temperature drops too low. It’s caused by prolonged exposure to cold weather. Temperatures don’t have to be freezing for someone to suffer hypothermia. The wind chill caused by riding a motorcycle may induce hypothermia, especially if the rider’s clothes are wet.

To avoid hypothermia:

  1. Plan shorter trips.
  2. Avoid riding your bike altogether when the weather is wet or too cold.
  3. Pull over immediately and seek medical assistance if you notice the following symptoms:
  • Shivering
  • Numbness
  • Tingling, itching, or burning
  • Feeling weak and disoriented
  • Reduced motor control
  • Skin discoloration

Were you hurt by a careless driver?

If you are hurt by someone else’s reckless behavior while riding your motorcycle in Virginia, you shouldn’t have to pay your own medical bills and other expenses. At GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys, we’ll help you get the money you need to get better and become financially whole again.

We consider it a calling to help our friends and neighbors in their time of need. And we understand what you’re going through because we’ve been there ourselves.

Call (804) 413-6777 to meet with our Virginia motorcycle accident lawyers for a free consultation and find out how we can help you put your life back together after a motorcycle crash.  And remember, we do not get paid until you do.

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