Summer Driving on a Motorcycle: Tips You Need to Know to Avoid an Accident
For many people, summer means packing a lot of activity into each day to enjoy the warmer temperatures. Also, because kids are off from school, families take to the road on summer vacations. This usually includes graduation celebrations, long holiday weekends, barbecues and pool parties in addition to short, as well as long road trips.
Because more people are on the road and so many parties involve alcohol, more accidents occur. Those traveling on a motorcycle are particularly vulnerable since they are out in the open and sometimes harder to see by other drivers. Below are some tips that drivers can use to plan ahead and safeguard themselves, passengers and other drivers.
Motorcycle Maintenance - Before thinking about traveling in, around or out of town during the summer season, take time to ensure that the motorcycle has been serviced properly. This is especially important since many motorcycles sit unused for months during the winter. Take the motorcycle in for a maintenance check. Ensure that the following is done:
- Fluid and oil levels replenished
- Tire pressure measured and adjusted
- Chassis and stand conditions corrected
- Rims and wheels inspected for dents or cracks
- Hoses and cables that have frays, kinks or folds repaired
- Turn signals, head and tail lamps and brake lights tested
Always Wear Safety Gear - Some may believe that in the summer months, safety gear is unnecessary. However, while it is tempting to skip some of the bulky safety tackle in summer, the fact is that it is unsafe to ride without it. Just like helmets reduce head injury risks by as much as 70 percent, face shields, wrap-around goggles or glasses and proper clothing is equally important. These items all protect against injury and help greatly to maintain visibility.
Upper body clothing needs to include reflective materials or bright colors to make it easier for other drivers to see motorcyclists. Gloves with non-slip surfaces also help to maintain firmer grips and prevent hand abrasions while driving and in the case of a crash. Leather boots protect feet in the same way.
When traveling in states where motorcycle helmets are optional, like North Carolina, it is imperative to be especially cautious. Though the rule of donning a helmet is left up to the rider, a Charlotte bike accident lawyer might disagree. They see the tragic results of bikers’ decisions to ride without a helmet every day.
Take Extra Caution on the Road - Motorcyclists always face higher risks than drivers of other vehicles. Therefore, motorcyclists should take extra steps to minimize and prevent risks on both city streets and highways, such as:
- Adhering to posted speed limits
- Always change lanes with extreme caution
- Only using roads that are suited to skill level
- Watching for unexpected movement of other drivers
- Refraining from tailgating or riding between lanes when it is illegal
- Do not split lanes even where legal, since it can be dangerous because of other vehicles or uneven pavement
Consider Motorcycle Safety Courses - Taking motorcycle safety courses can enlighten enthusiasts about tips and tricks that experienced and professional drivers use to stay safe. This can include how to deal with traffic, sudden weather conditions and safely maneuvering around road debris, hazards and other obstacles.
Never Drive Under the Influence - It goes without saying that no one should drink and drive. Also refrain from driving motorcycles after taking any substance, including prescribed and over the counter medication that impairs judgment or movement in any way.
During summer, it is a sure bet that more vehicles and motorcyclists will be on the road. Taking the time to heed the above tips will make riding more pleasant and safe for everyone during the summer.
Jamica Bell is a freelance writer and motorcycle lover. She contributes this article to highlight the need for safe summer riding. Charlotte bike accident lawyer, Arlene P. Auger, employs her experience and knowledge to defend the rights of victims injured in motorcycle accidents.
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