Riding a motorcycle can be exhilarating and liberating, but when bad weather strikes, it can quickly become a challenging and potentially hazardous experience. From sudden downpours and strong winds to lightning storms, the unpredictable nature of weather poses risks for riders on the road.
On average, there are over 5,891,000 vehicle crashes yearly, with approximately 21% weather-related. These weather-related crashes result in an average of nearly 7,000 deaths and over 629,000 injuries annually. Responsible riders must acknowledge these dangers and be ready for adverse weather conditions.
Equip yourself with the knowledge and skills to responsibly handle challenging weather conditions and safeguard your well-being while riding your motorcycle.
Assessing Bad Weather Severity
If you experience bad weather, such as heavy rain and strong winds, you need to determine the severity of the conditions. Following these steps will help you ride safely in severe conditions:
- Prioritize visibility: If it starts to rain or snow, use your helmet’s visor to keep the precipitation off your face and maintain clear vision.
- Wait it out: Wait until the weather improves before driving again. Remember, your safety is your priority.
- Assess road conditions: Consider the condition of the road and how it may be affected, such as flooding or slippery surfaces.
- Use your lights: Ensure your headlights and taillights are on to increase your visibility to other drivers in rainy conditions.
Adapting Riding Techniques for Control and Stability
The unpredictability of the weather can affect road conditions, potentially increasing your risk of an accident. Maintain control and stability by adjusting your riding techniques for the weather conditions.
- Slow down: Reduce speed on wet or slippery surfaces to improve traction and response time.
- Increase following distance: Increase your following distance to allow for safer braking and maneuvering, providing enough room to react to sudden changes.
- Ride smoother: Use smooth and gentle inputs when accelerating, braking, or steering to prevent loss of control, especially on wet surfaces.
- Adjust your position: Strong winds can put you and your motorcycle at risk of being pushed into other vehicles and road objects. To maintain stability, change your riding position toward the wind’s direction to counteract its pushes. Tuck your legs and arms close to your body or the bike to protect yourself from the wind.
Planning Your Trip in Advance
Planning your trip before you ride a motorcycle is essential to ensuring your safety. Start by understanding the potential weather conditions along your planned route and adapting your trip to prevent any mishaps.
- Check your weather app: Use a weather app like Weather Underground to stay updated on potential storms along your route. Be mindful of any weather advisories government authorities provide about the current weather conditions.
- Choose your route: Opt for routes that avoid low-lying areas prone to flooding.
- Find other transportation options: If heavy rain occurs, consider postponing your ride or finding alternative transportation if conditions are unsafe.
Enhancing Visibility With Essential Gear
Choose clothing and gear that improves your visibility to cars and other vehicles and provides protection against the elements. The following items should be worn during your trips:
- Wear bright, reflective gear: High-visibility jackets or vests help drivers see you on the road.
- Select reflective helmets: Opt for reflective helmets or attach reflective strips to your existing helmet.
- Remember to wear waterproof gear: If there is a chance of rain, wear a waterproof riding jacket, boots, and gloves, and use a full-face helmet.
Navigating Adverse Weather Conditions
Riding through inclement weather on a motorcycle requires specific strategies to help you and other road users stay safe. Take these safety measures during these common weather hazards:
- Strong winds: Lean into the wind to counteract its effects and maintain stability. Keep a firm grip on the handlebars and maintain a moderate speed.
- Lightning storms: Do not ride in lightning storms, as motorcycles offer minimal protection from thunder. Pull over and find a safe, enclosed shelter such as a rest stop or gas station.
- Heavy rain: Slow down to prevent hydroplaning and maintain a safe following distance to account for increased stopping times. Make yourself more visible with reflective gear and lights. If the rain becomes too heavy, seek shelter until it subsides.
Trust Your Instincts
Even if you’re an experienced rider, bad weather can present unpredictable challenges. If you feel that the weather is too severe or the road conditions are unsafe, trust your instincts and prioritize your safety. Pulling over and waiting for the weather to improve or seeking shelter is safer than driving through a storm.
Weathering the Storm: Safely Riding Your Motorcycle in Bad Weather
Riding a motorcycle in bad weather conditions requires knowledge, skills, and a commitment to safety. Equipping yourself with the necessary tools and taking proactive measures helps ensure a safer ride.
If you experience an accident while riding in severe weather conditions, The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers can provide legal guidance and support to help you file a claim against the responsible parties. Our experienced Alabama motorcycle accident lawyers will fight for your rights and help you seek the compensation you deserve.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.