With millions of registered motorcycles in the United States, the importance of motorcycle safety cannot be understated. In fact, we’ve touched on this subject several times in the past, the most recent of which covered safety tips to remember during cross-country adventures.
The winter season comes with a unique set of dangers due to icy roads that many motorists are not truly prepared for. If you’re a motorcyclist, the possibility of being in an accident due to unsafe driving conditions is a real possibility. Because of this, we thought it would be helpful for our two-wheeled friends if we provided some winter driving safety tips.
Avoid the Roads Whenever Possible
Perhaps we sound like a broken record since we’ve given this tip before, but it can’t be emphasized enough – if at all possible, stay off icy roads. We understand that the winter season is a wonderful time to be outside, but limiting yourself to trips around town only when necessary will increase your chances of avoiding an accident.
Wear Proper Gear
It’s extremely important that you wear proper gear to help stay protected in the event of an accident. For motorcyclists, this comes down to items like a helmet (no exceptions!), layered clothing including a leather jacket or something similar, and strong footwear. If you crash, you’ll be glad you’re properly equipped. Also, since winter days are shorter, be sure to keep a set of clear-lens glasses handy in case you have to ride after sunset.
Maintain Your Bike
When a motorcycle isn’t taken care of very well, the likelihood of an accident always increases. This is especially true on icy roads when your bike’s condition really matters as it relates to stopping properly and keeping traction on the road. If you haven’t already had it checked out by a mechanic for the winter season, now’s the time.
Reduce Your Speed
Slower speeds are always advantageous when it comes to avoiding accidents. Not only are you in better control of your motorcycle, but you’ll be able to get around stopped vehicles or brake more easily in the event of a crash in front of you. In harsh winter conditions, you may want to actually drive below the speed.
Increase Following Distance
When following vehicles in traffic, be sure to increase the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. To be safe, when road conditions are bad you should try to double the two-second rule for the gap between you and the vehicle in front of you. This will give you much more time to either stop or move to one side safely in order to avoid a crash.
Pay Attention to Other Vehicles
This is obviously a rule that you should follow every single time you get out on the road, but you need to pay special attention during the winter season. Because of accumulated snow and splashback that can cover cars’ lights and windows, drivers may have their field of vision reduced from what it is in good weather. Plus, since motorcycles are smaller, some drivers don’t see them as readily as four-wheeled automobiles. It may not be fair that motorcycle riders have to ride defensively, but that’s the way it is.
Watch for Rock Salt on the Road
You’re probably aware that rock salt is used on highways, streets, driveways, sidewalks, and other areas during the winter season as a way to melt ice and make the surfaces safer for four-wheeled vehicles and pedestrians. While this is great in most situations, motorcycles can sometimes slide when their tires hit the salt. Try to avoid any areas where rock salt is still visible.
Staying safe on the road during the winter season is possible as long as you exercise proper safety techniques. But, if you find yourself in an accident, be sure to call the qualified attorneys at Mintz Law Firm for a free consultation. We’ll fight right by your side the entire way.