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Driving in cold weather

In winter or cold weather, other drivers do not expect to see motorcycles or mopeds out on the roads, even when road conditions are good. You must be even more careful and drive more defensively.

You need to anticipate sudden changes in the road surface, especially if the temperature is close to or below freezing. A road may be dry in one area, but wet and slippery in another. Watch for icy or snow-covered patches, which may appear on bridges, shady spots on the road, windswept areas and side roads that have not been completely cleared.

Be alert. Generally, asphalt is a grey-white colour in the winter. Be suspicious of black and shiny asphalt. The road may be covered with a thin layer of ice known as black ice.

It is best to avoid driving your motorcycle or moped when you know there is likely to be snow or ice. If you cannot avoid driving on a very slippery surface, slow down as much as possible before you get to it. If your motorcycle has a clutch and gears, pull in the clutch, coast across and stay off the brakes. If necessary, use your foot to hold your motorcycle or moped up. On a long section of snow-covered road, try to drive on loose or fresh snow. Hard-packed snow has less traction than loose snow.

The other danger of driving in winter is the cold. Cold affects your performance and that of your motorcycle or moped. Here are some things to watch for:

  • Cold weather lowers tire pressure. Check it regularly.
  • Face-shield fogging will be worse in cold weather.
  • Probably your greatest danger is from fatigue brought on by the cold. Dress in multiple layers. Keep dry. Do not expose bare skin, and be alert to your own slowed reactions.