Motorcycle Safety Tips for Cold Weather

Driving any vehicle in cold weather and especially snow is going to make for a much more difficult time than driving in dry, comfortable weather. With enough preparation and all of the right gear, it is possible to mitigate many of these problems, but without them, you run the risk of a deadly accident. Before you head out in the snow or in cold weather, always get your bike checked by a trusted mechanic to make sure the machine itself is ready for cold weather riding. Here are some general tips for safe motorcycle driving in the winter.

Preparing Your Bike for Winter

Your bike is likely going to take longer to start in the colder weather, as most motorcycles are equipped with batteries and fluids suited for riding the other three seasons of the year.

  • Equip your bike with a cold weather battery, especially if yours struggles to start in the cold
  • Make sure your oil is also suited to cold weather – if not, your mechanic may recommend a thinner oil
  • Your mechanic will also be able to recommend any other cold weather fluids your bike might need

Preparing Your Gear for Winter

If the bike is ready for cold weather, you need to be ready. Helmets, pads, jackets, boots and gloves are all important, year-round, but you should suit up with temperature-appropriate gear, too.

  • Whatever you have, get the warmer version of it – this goes for the jacket, boots, gloves – everything
    • The wind makes the air feel colder, especially once you’re up to road speed – make sue everything is insulted
    • You run the risk of frostbite or hypothermia in windy, cold, exposed conditions
  • Consider heated gear, if possible, to better protect from the cold
  • A standard-issue visor may fog up in the cold, so consider a full-face helmet for the cold, preferably with an anti-fog visor or electric defrost built in

Winter Motorcycle Riding Tips

You know that driving on ice and snow it degrees harder than riding on a dry street, but there are some basics you should keep in mind if you are stuck out there:

  • Don’t ride in the snow – you can usually wait it out, or simply wait to ride when there’s no snow, even if its cold out
  • Drive slower – you can’t risk skidding out or being unable to brake fast enough, causing an accident
  • Keep more distance between yourself and other vehicles
  • Wear high-visibility gear and lights to avoid being hit

Check in With Yourself

You should keep an eye on how your body is reacting as you ride, too. If you’re cold, there’s a chance you won’t have the best control of your bike. Your sensitivity can be dulled and your reaction times can be slower.

  • Don’t ride if you aren’t feeling up to it – the cold could be the difference between a safe ride and a dangerous one
  • Check in with other riders on group rides to make sure everyone is okay to continue
  • Take breaks if anyone is uneasy or tired during the ride

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