Most motorcyclists avoid riding in the rain. Not only does rain affect stability and traction, it also can interfere with a driver’s concentration. Further, if it has not rained in awhile. the rain will bring up the oil on the road that has built up during the dry season and causes the road to be even more slippery. Even slow speed turns in the rain can cause your rear tire to slide out from under you and cause an accident. Hydroplaning/aquaplaning (water between your tire and road) is even worse as it leads to a complete loss of traction.
While it’s best to keep your motorcycle parked in the rain, if you absolutely must ride, here are some basic tips to follow.
Rain Gear. Good rain hear will help keep you stay warm and dry. The most important thing you can do on a motorcycle is wear a helmet. In the rain, using a full face helmet will provide more protection from hard falling rain drops that tend to hurt at high speeds. Also, keep your helmet visor clean. A visor steaming up will create additional visibility problems. Rain gear such as a rain suit, trousers, boots, covers and gloves should be waterproof.
Ride Slow and Smooth. Do not make any sudden movements. In the rain, traction is low and a rider’s reaction time decreases. Be smooth and steady. Breaking too heavily, accelerating too heavily or leaning too much can cause skidding. Accelerate with caution and apply the brakes in a smooth manner to avoid spinning wheels or going into a skid. Also, avoid riding on paint lines, metal grates or manhole covers because they become extremely slippery and dangerous.
Give yourself plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front of you. Braking distances are much longer in the rain. By giving yourself more space you will be able to have more reaction time in the event of a disaster.
Increase your Visibility. Wear reflective clothing and gear. Use more lights when safe to do so and use your signals well in advance so that other driver’s know your intentions.
Avoid Puddles. When it’s dry you can easily spot pooled water and pot holes. In the rain it is difficult to see what lies ahead on the surface of the road. Puddles hide potholes that could damage your tire. Standing water also can cause you to lose traction and slide.
Bad weather conditions create an increased risk of being involved in a motorcycle accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported a 7% increase in motorcycle fatalities in 2012 from 2011.
If you have been hurt in an accident, contact our Sacramento motorcycle personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Edward A. Smith for a free consultation by calling (800) 404-5400 or (916) 921-6400, www.autoaccident.com. Edward A. Smith is the author of the California Motorcycle Accident Handbook, which is available by calling our office for a copy and on Amazon or Kindle.