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5 Wintertime Safety Tips for Motorcyclists

Sacramento winters may not be as severe as those in Chicago, but there are still important safety precautions to take when you’re riding during the winter months. Keeping these safety tips in mind can help you enjoy a safe ride even when weather conditions are bad.

Remember Wind Chill

It’s important to keep wind chill in mind in the colder months. Even if it’s 45 degrees Fahrenheit, driving 55 miles per hour makes it feel like its 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Use this handy tool to check how cold it will feel when you ride.

Be sure to dress warm for your health and safety. It can be especially hard to ride if your head and face have inadequate coverage in freezing temperatures. If you get too cold and hypothermia starts to develop, you may not be able to safely operate your bike.

Handle Unexpected Cold and Wet Temperatures

Even when you prepare for the cold, you can get stuck out in unexpected weather conditions. If it starts to rain, you can use a large plastic trash bag to limit your exposure to dampness that can lower your core temperature considerably. Stow an extra layer or two in your bike bag so that you can adjust for changing conditions. If you have the opportunity, make extra stops at rest areas to get out of the elements and give yourself a chance to warm up.

Stay cautious in the fog

Fog is a regular visitor to the central valley area, so it’s important to learn how to properly use your motorcycle’s lights in the inevitable foggy conditions. The best light to see and be seen in fog is your low beam lights. Some bikers install fog lights as well to increase their visibility.

Extreme fog calls for extreme measures. Use your flashing hazard lights to be more visible to motorists and keep your speed with the flow of traffic.

Use snowsafe driving techniques

If you are riding in the foothills around Sacramento in the wintertime, you may encounter some snowy roads. When driving on snow covered roads, make sure to maintain a slow speed. Keep all break operation and steering gradual and steady to avoid going out of control. Allow plenty of breaking distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you, and, if possible, try to avoid being followed closely.

If it starts to snow while you are on your bike, other drivers will have an extremely hard time seeing you. Your chances of being involved in an accident dramatically increase if you stay on the road in a snowstorm. Your safest choice in this situation is to get off the road until the snow stops.

Beware of ice

Icy patches may exist on roads, especially bridges, even though the temperature is above freezing. Take extra care on wet roadways any time the temperature is at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below, because ice can still form and make roadways slippery. If you think a road surface may have a patch of ice, keep your driving slow and as straight as possible. In the foothills, keep an eye out for sand and salt applied on roads known to harbor icy spots.

Reckless driving by motorists is always an issue no matter what the weather dishes out. Difficult weather conditions can increase the risk of being involved in an accident, but if you are prepared and drive carefully and defensively, you are doing everything you can to stay safe.

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