December 8, 2017
In more mild states, an inch of snowfall requires a state of emergency. But in Indiana, we Hoosiers are used to weather that’s unpredictable and extreme. Not only do we drive in winter weather, but many of us ride our motorcycles in it.
If you plan on braving the cold temperatures, here are a few tips to make sure you make it home safely.
1. Don’t Ride in the Snow
It’s okay to go for a winter ride when there’s snow already on the ground. Try to wait at least until the roads have been salted or plowed before grabbing your bike. But it’s far more dangerous to go for a ride in the middle of a snowfall.
During a snowfall, the roads will be incredibly slick. It can be dangerous for a person to drive in, let alone someone to ride their motorcycle in, exposed to the elements. If it starts to snow while you’re already out, head home or seek shelter until the storm passes.
Be careful also of high winds. It may not be snowing outside, but winds may cause already settled snow to drift, creating white-out conditions. If you want to go out for a ride, shoot for a sunny winter afternoon to decrease your risk of a weather-related accident.
2. Invest in Winter Gear
Not only should you invest in jackets, pants, gloves, boots, and other gear made specifically for motorcyclists instead of relying on your t-shirt and blue jeans to save your skin, but you should also invest in gear that can withstand winter weather.
The trick with riding in the winter is to make sure your gear keeps you warm without being so bulky that you inhibit your ability to ride safely. Layering is a must. Make sure any shirts, jackets, socks, or pants you purchase wick away moisture to prevent cold sweat. You’ll also want waterproof gear to combat any rain, sleet, or snow in case you get caught in it.
The state of Indiana doesn’t require motorcyclists to wear helmets as long as they are 18 or older, but you’ll definitely want some head gear for a wintry ride. Purchase a fog-free shield for your helmet. If you choose not to wear a helmet, make sure you at least invest in some eye protection to prevent icy snow from zooming into your face at highway speeds and clouding your vision.
3. Prepare Your Bike
Now that you’re prepared for the elements with your winter gear, it’s time to make sure your bike is equally suited for the snow.
Outfit your motorcycle with a large windscreen and good handguards to protect yourself from speeding snow and ice. Consider purchasing heated grips to make riding even easier.
Before you even take your bike out of the garage, though, you should make sure it’s ready for the road. Make sure engine, tires, and brakes are in good working order. Invest in quality treads for your tires to make sure you can get through the snow, and check to make sure your tire pressure hasn’t decreased in the cold. If anything needs to be repaired or replaced, take the time to do so before going for a winter ride.
4. Watch Out for Winter Road Hazards
Some road hazards only appear when the temperature drops below 32 degrees.
Some, like snow and ice, are obvious. Ride slower and increase your following distance to make sure you have enough time to stop. Be on the lookout for black ice especially and avoid it at all costs.
However, other hazards aren’t as well-known. Although salt helps melt the ice and snow, it can decrease your traction. Avoid any big salt crystals. You’ll also want to avoid new cracks in the road formed by expanding ice or a particularly enthusiastic snow plow.
Help from an Indiana Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Of course, you can follow all of the tips in the world, but you may still get into a motorcycle accident this winter because of another driver’s negligence. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, Hensley Legal Group can help. Call us today or contact us online to talk to our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys. Your initial consultation is on us.