safety tips for riding a motorcycle in bad weather

Rain, wind, and fog can all be dangerous hazards to motorcyclists. While most savvy riders won’t head out for a casual cruise when the morning’s weather forecast is grim, that doesn’t mean you won’t ever be caught unexpectedly in bad weather or need to get somewhere in bad weather with no method of transportation but your bike. It’s important to know what to do to decrease your risks of an accident in these situations.

What To Do When You Are Caught in Rain On Your Motorcycle

The first way to protect yourself from motorcycle crashes in rain is by going in prepared. Make sure you have the right gear in a saddlebag or backpack to protect yourself in the rain. These should include:

  • Rainproof boots with non-skid soles
  • Rain-proof gloves ­– select a pair with a built-in squeegee on the left index finger for clearing water from your visor (or waterproof glove covers with the same which can be pulled on over your gloves)
  • High-visibility rain suit
  • Full-face helmet

You may also want to consider packing an extra set of dry clothes to change into once you reach your destination and a plastic bag to hold your phone and protect it from water.

When riding your motorcycle, make sure to reduce your speed and put more space between yourself and other vehicles, since you will likely need more time to come to a stop. When braking, brake earlier and gently. The same goes for acceleration. You should also avoid making sudden turns.

Rain will spread any oil on the road, making it harder for your bike to get traction. Reflectors and painted lines will also become as slick as ice when wet. Look for foam on the road as a warning the upcoming stretch will be extra slippery.

If you see your RPM rise suddenly, you should adjust your speed, as you may be at risk of hydroplaning. If possible, trying riding in the tire tracks of the vehicle ahead of you, as the ground may be drier there.

It is also best to avoid puddles, because they could be hiding potholes.

What to Do if You Are Caught in Heavy Wind On Your Motorcycle

Heavy wind can push a car, and motorcycles are much smaller and lighter. If you are experiencing strong wind while on your bike, make note of where the wind is coming from and adjust your position in your lane to give yourself room if the wind pushes you out of it.

Lean into the wind to avoid tipping, but also take note of areas ahead of you that may block the wind, such as buildings, dense groupings of trees, or even taller vehicles. If you lean too hard when passing these, you could risk tipping in that direction.

When riding in wind, keep your limbs loose and relaxed. Tensing up against the wind may be your natural instinct, but it will also allow the wind to jerk you and your bike around more easily and affect your steering.

If riding with someone, make sure to ride staggered, not side by side, so you have more room to course correct when necessary without risking colliding with your fellow rider.

Riding in wind is also very tiring, so plan to take more breaks than usual.

What to Do If You Are Caught in Fog On Your Motorcycle

In fog, not only can you not see well, but other people on the road will have a harder time spotting you as well. Make sure to wear reflective clothing and check your rearview mirrors frequently for vehicles approaching from behind.

Use your low beams to light your way, as high beams will reflect off the fog and make it harder to see. You might also consider turning on your hazard lights in dense fog to make yourself more visible.

Watch your speed, remain calm, and avoid passing or changing lanes whenever possible. Use the road markers on the curb side of the road rather than the center line to guide you, as it will make you less likely to be blinded by oncoming headlights.

Your most serious risk is your visor fogging up, so it’s best as a preventative measure to apply a defogging agent to your mask or visor beforehand. Swapping to yellow-tinted goggles in fog can actually make it easier to see than riding without goggles altogether.

After a Motorcycle Crash, Get the Help You Need

Motorcycle crashes can be terrifying, frustrating, and painful in equal measure. That’s especially true when they occur in bad weather when you were taking every precaution, but other drivers on the road weren’t.

The South Carolina motorcycle accident attorneys at Joye Law Firm know how to handle cases where the insurance company tries to pass off the blame to the motorcycle no matter who was actually at fault, and we don’t let that type of behavior go unchallenged. Contact our firm today for a free case consultation if you’ve been involved in a motorcycle crash through no fault of your own.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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