Fatigue diminishes your mental alertness and riding skills, and as many athletes know, fatigue also degrades muscular coordination. Motorists driving in cars need only concern themselves with staying awake and alert. On the other hand, the act of motorcycling itself is physically exhausting. After several hours on a bike, numb hands, tired forearms, neck fatigue, constant wind exposure, and the pressure of the helmet on your head combine together to wear you down. In such a state, the biker is a motorcycle accident waiting to happen. This common cause of motorcycle crashes is avoidable by following these six tips:
- Get enough sleep. While the demanding nature of motorcycling makes it unlikely that you will fall asleep while riding, lack of sleep will diminish your alertness and judgment. Get seven to eight hours of sleep before a long ride.
- Drink plenty of fluids. This is especially important in the summer when constant sweating from humid air or the effects of hot dry air dehydrate you. Dehydration adversely affects brain and muscle function, making you dizzy, lethargic, and less coordinated.
- Take rest stops. Take rest stops every two hours or sooner. Don’t wait until you’re feeling exhausted before taking a rest because this will shorten your overall endurance. In hot weather, frequent rests (and hydration) in air-conditioned places prevent heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
- Use padded gloves. This prevents hand numbness and fatigue. Avoid gripping the handlebars harder than necessary, and don’t allow your wrists to remain flexed for lengthy periods.
- Use a helmet with a visor. The noise of wind and its buffeting cause fatigue and a full-face helmet will reduce this effect. Consider getting a windshield to protect both your face and body.
- Increase riding times gradually. Over-ambitious riding plans are a sure guaranty of fatigue. Motorcycling is a physical activity that requires time for your body to adjust to its rigors. If you have plans for a day long or multi-day trip, build up to it with frequent shorter rides prior to the trip.
If you sustained an injury in a motorcycle accident because of another’s recklessness or negligence, contact us for a free case evaluation.