Every motorcyclist knows the adventures of the open road include the changes the weather can bring along the way. That dry clean stretch can change to a stormy wet surface which can last for hours. If you’ve packed your rain suit or – even if you’ve forgotten to, there’s no reason you can’t ride on! (Six Reasons To Ride In The Rain) Riding Your Motorcycle in Heavy rain, storms and heavy winds can pose some danger for motorcycle riders caught without the right preparation or experience.
Every rider needs to be capable of handling themselves when the weather takes a turn for the worse. Here are the MOTORESS five tips for Riding Your Motorcycle in Heavy Rain – to keep you safe when the skies darken and the heavens open!
Claim Your Space
Give yourself plenty of space, increase following distance when you’re on the road, and do your best to stay clear of the edges where debris can accumulate. On some roads there’s a chance of aquaplaning which may interfere with the direction of the motorcycle. So give yourself as much space as possible to correct any mishaps. Ensure you’re in the most visible lane positions and if in a group the staggered group formation at a slower pace will ensure safety for all. But ride single file with a two second following distance through corners and turns.
Relax; Hum a Tune
Calm yourself and nestle in for the long run. Adjust and reduce your speed to allow more space to respond. There’s no room for panic reactions in the rain. If you need to brake allow for a longer stopping distance and a relaxed application of both brakes. Temper your shifting smoothing it out even more to ensure easy transition and avoid spinning the tyres. Don’t stiffen up (the cold can do this too) as this will interfere with your steering and you’ll likely have a cramp after the ride. If you can ride your motorcycle in one gear higher than normal for the speed you’re travelling, this will help in avoiding peppy throttle application which could spin the tires.
Read the Road
It helps if you know the route you’re travelling and what’s coming up ahead – painted road markings, metal surfaces and fresh tarmac are slippery and are often more difficult to see in the rain. Take special note to the road signs. If you’re not sure what lies ahead, pull off at a gas station and double-check your map; ask the gas attendant for tips on the conditions ahead. Visibility in heavy rain is greatly reduced and being unfamiliar with the road surface and your surroundings could increase risk factors.
If you’re heading out into a storm there will not only be rain but a dark sky, thicker cloud cover and mist – all reducing your visibility. Making sure you’re seen by other road users is a priority. Here’s where a high-viz vest is a great solution. Sure your rain suit or gear usually has built-in reflective strips, but these are small in comparison to a safety vest.
If caught unprepared in a storm, without your rain gear isn’t ideal, however, it’s the cold that will set it which will cause you higher risk than getting wet! If the cold gets to you, to your hands and feet you’re going to have slower reactions and less control of the bike. Layering your clothing under your jacket and pants is a technique that works well! Getting drenched while riding is unpleasant, but being cold is unsafe. You may have to pull over
Of course if the going just gets too harsh for you, just pull over, stop and wait for better conditions.
Be sure to read our tips on RIDING IN RAIN as a basis for safe, fun riding!