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What can motorcycle riders do to stay safe in the winter?

Sometimes, motorcycle riders get caught out in the winter weather. Maybe there was a warm spell, you decided to take the bike out, and a storm rolled in before you could get home. It happens. What can riders do to stay safe on the winter roads?

First off, remember that the cold can change your tires. In low temps, they get less traction. This means stopping times get longer and it's harder to make sharp turns. Drivers need to adjust their speed and style of driving for the cold.

Next, keep an eye out for hazards. Obviously, black ice, snow and slush are all dangerous. But even the efforts to clear the roads can put you in danger. Plows can leave lines in the snow where traction changes quickly, or they can cause snow to drift unnaturally. When they drop salt behind, it may melt the ice, but salt itself can be slippery and can reduce traction.

Finally, you may need to back off a bit if you end up behind another vehicle. A safe following distance in the summer may not be safe in the winter. You need more time to stop and you're usually better off to drive slower than you would in warm weather.

These tips can help, but they won't prevent all accidents. Other cars and trucks, even with four-wheel-drive, could slide on the ice and hit you. Other drivers could cut you off, not realizing you need a longer stopping distance. Winter driving is dangerous, and you need to know what rights you have to compensation when another driver causes a serious crash.

Source: Ultimary Motorcycling, "7 Tips For Winter Motorcycle Riding," Ron Lieback, accessed Feb. 10, 2017

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