The things about motorcycles that make them so enjoyable in good weather, make them downright scary in the rain. Their two wheels, which give you a nimble ride on dry pavement, threaten to toss you to the pavement in wet conditions, and their lack of a protective cage increases your injury risk if you do get thrown off your bike.
As a general rule, you shouldn’t ride in bad weather but sometimes your circumstances force it on you. That’s why you should work on developing your wet weather riding proficiency. Follow these five tips to avoid motorcycle accidents in the rain:
This means making less demands of your tires’ traction. Avoid any actions that would generate G-forces on dry pavement. Your tire-pavement contact lacks the traction to pull off these moves, which means you’ll slip and slide on wet pavement. Avoid hard braking, turning, and acceleration. Doing multiple things at once is another way of placing too much traction demands on your tires. For example, do all of your braking before entering a corner.
Slow Down and Increase Your Following Distance
An increased following distance combined with a slower speed gives you more distance and time for gradual braking or maneuvering when responding to a traffic incident. Of course, a longer following distance doesn’t help if you don’t focus on the traffic and look as far ahead as possible.
Use Good Tires
Tires with low pressure have a wider contact patch with the pavement. This increases their hydroplaning tendency. Good tire tread prevents hydroplaning by channeling the water away. Therefore, never allow the tread to wear down too much because you never know when circumstances will force you to ride in the rain.
When you are faced with the choice of long-lasting tires vs high traction tires, go with high traction. Long-lasting tires wear down slowly because they’re made of a hard rubber, which has less traction.
Puddles are a hydroplaning risk, and you can’t see what’s in them. Does the puddle cover a giant pothole? Is there a sharp object in it waiting to puncture your tire? Perhaps the puddle conceals a deep groove that will “grab” your front wheel.
Avoid Rainbow Pavement
When a thin-film of oil floats on water, it produces a light interference pattern that looks like colors of the rainbow. Riding on oily wet pavement further reduces your traction.
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