cold weather riding
Simply the answer is yes cold weather can affect your concentration. In more ways that you can imagine.
the first and most obvious is with you fixation to get home. that in itself can cause a lack of actual concentration on what you are doing on the bike, about your suroundings and the dangers that are being missed because you are thinking about getting home and all the concerns that brings.
Its nice thinking about the greeting we may get. of the feet up and nice warm fire and brew or can? when you should be concentrating on the journey at hand, otherwise you may not get home at all.
Its similar to fixation when you look at something on the road to avoid it and actually end up hitting it. If your mind is elsewhere its not where it should be and concentration for the task in hand is lost. You find youself further down the road and wonder how you got there. The autonomic part of your brain took over but the thinking part didnt and thats when you realise that you have lost concentration.
the second matter is Hypothermia. thats when the core body gets below a certain temperature. Its usually associated with elderly persons or infirmed or children who cannot control their body temperature and who lose body heat slowy in the winter but can happen if one is emersed in the North Sea for about 2 minutes.
Several thin base layers are a good idea as they hold trapped air which is warmed by the bodies natural heat. Warming gloves or feet is good because blood returning to the heart is warmed as it passes through the veins near to the skins surface at the wrists and the ankles. Excessive heating of the torso however can in fact make things worse as it draws blood away from the vital organs to cool the skin areas down. so if using a vest make sure that its on low enough to have a warming effect without becoming too hot.
When we are cold we shiver and thats good its the bodies way of warning us that cold is being fought off however if we dont stop and warm up and continue in an effort to get home we can stop shivering and then as the core temperature drops even further we can succome to hypothermia. If we have it we will not know as it affects the brain in funny ways . only others would recognise. First we have less muscular co-ordination and our speech may become affected, like acting drunk. we feel hot when its obviously cold and may want to remove clothing which obviously should be avoided. some can become aggressive and obstructive to help or assistance and must sometimes be restrained for thier own good.
Hypothermia is a killer, if that doesnt get you riding a bike with it will definately kill or seriously seriously injure you.