Whether through necessity or simply the love of the activity, many motorcycle riders continue to ride well into the winter months. In the Midwest, however, winter riding can be dangerous no matter the rider’s experience level. Fortunately, with enough planning and foresight, you can minimize risks.

In a recent Forbes piece, the author highlighted five tips that could be followed to minimize danger and the risk for a serious wreck.

  1. Cold tires equal less traction. Even tires with the proper tread depth and air pressure will lose traction when running cold. Tires will naturally heat up while in motion, however, the extreme cold weather can cool the tire heat back down during even a short stop. Be aware that almost every time you stop, you risk spinning your tires when trying to get back up to speed.
  2. Increase stopping distance. Related to the first point, be aware that your tires will not react during the winter months as you have become used to during the summer or fall months. The roads might be slick, and you might experience a reduction in traction. Increase your distance between other vehicles to increase your safety.
  3. Research ahead of time. You might have never needed a tow service or mechanic before, but it’s wise to have a couple numbers saved in your phone over the winter. Going so far as to establish a prior relationship with these shops might help you avoid having to sit in the cold waiting for help for a dangerously long time.
  4. Be aware of weather patterns. Even with all the preparation possible, it is unwise to ride in dangerous conditions. High winds, snow, sleet or hail can add a level of danger to even a short motorcycle ride. You should either stay at home or seek alternative methods of transportation.
  5. Wear proper gear. From layering your protective gear to keeping hand/foot warmers in storage, it is important to dress for the weather. Simply putting on more clothes might impact your flexibility. Take a moment to examine your riding gear as the weather turns cold.

Why are motorcycle accidents so dangerous?

Unlike other vehicles, motorcycle riders have almost no protection between them and the road’s surface. Outside of heavy clothing, the rider will get the full force of the surface impact and all resulting injuries. These injuries can include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, burn injuries and amputation. Additionally, those who fall while traveling at a high rate of speed will likely suffer severe lacerations or road rash.

If you or a loved one was injured in a motorcycle accident, it is wise to seek legal guidance as soon as possible. It might be possible to recover monetary compensation through a personal injury claim.