The road surface is often slippery, especially the white lines, cats eyes, leaves at the edge of the road and drain covers not to mention that a lot of our roads are in a pretty poor condition. Other road users don’t always clear frost and de-mist their windscreens fully before setting off, cyclists and pedestrians often wear dark clothing without any form of high visibility accessories and the weather can often distract our attention from what is going on up ahead.
As riders we need to make sure we have the best possible chance to ride safely in the poor conditions and in my opinion this starts with having the right kit. As mentioned above, if you’re concentrating more on whether or not your fingers and toes resemble something out of your freezer, you’re unlikely to be able to react fully to changing conditions up ahead. Warm socks, winter gloves and heated grips will go a long way to helping you get through the winter journeys.
Here are some more tips to be aware of:
- When your visibility is reduced, you should reduce your speed;
- Use anti-misting spray on your visors, glasses and mirrors;
- In fog, rain or snow, regularly check your speedo for your actual speed as low visibility distorts your perception of speed;
- Staring into featureless mist tires the eyes very quickly so use the edge of carriageway lines, cats eyes or hazard lines to act as markers;
- Consider using your horn more when appropriate;
- Look out for places where ice patches have lingered in some areas when they have disappeared elsewhere. This can happen under tree canopies, around bridges and in valley bottoms and can cause sudden and unexpected skidding.
Remember, crashes are rarely caused by bad weather, they’re caused by inappropriate riding for the conditions.