You may not always be able to avoid riding your motorcycle in the rain. It might be your only form of transportation on a rainy day, or you may get caught in an unexpected Texas thunderstorm. Either way, it is possible to ride safely in the rain. The right equipment, preparation and operation techniques are critical in avoiding motorcycle accidents in wet weather.
Wear Rain Gear
As a motorcyclist, rain is not your friend. It can make it difficult to see clearly, ride comfortably and operate your vehicle safely. Wearing the right rain gear is the first step toward ensuring a more successful ride. Invest in high-visibility waterproof motorcycle gear for Texas’ rainy season. Visibility is extremely important in the rain, as it can be difficult enough for other drivers to see your bike without torrents of rain. Wear yellow or orange rain gear with reflective accessories. Wear goggles rather than a face shield, as the latter could fog in bad weather. Consider investing in wool socks, waterproof gloves and boots. Do not forget your helmet.
One of the most important motorcycle safety tips on a rainy day is to slow down. Reducing your speed could be the key to avoiding an accident. Going too fast could lead to sliding out of control and crashing your bike. Remember, a posted speed limit is only the recommended safe speed in optimal conditions. You may drive substantially slower than the posted speed limit in bad weather. Drive slow enough to be able to press the brakes and stop safely if something unexpected happens. Be especially careful navigating turns on wet roads.
Watch for Slippery Spots
One of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents in the rain is slippery surfaces. A wet road can compromise your ability to control your motorcycle. You may lose traction, hydroplane or lay your bike flat on wet roads. The first 10 to 15 minutes of a storm are the most dangerous, as this is when water mixes with engine oil to create slick spots. Try to avoid driving through puddles – especially those with swirls of rainbow color. These are puddles of water mixed with oil that could be extremely slippery. If you can, drive your motorcycle in the dry tire track of the car in front of you.
Watch for Hazards
As a prudent motorcyclist, you should always be on the lookout for roadway hazards that could cause an accident. In a storm, however, be extra cautious. Stay alert to common risks such as fallen tree limbs, debris, puddles, flooding, wet railroad tracks or wet grass clippings. Never ride near downed power lines in a bad storm, as you could run the risk of electrocution. Do not underestimate the danger of roadway defects or debris in a storm.
Stay Calm and Collected
If you are nervous about riding in the rain, stay home. If you accidentally get caught in a storm while riding, try to pull into a gas station or restaurant and wait out the worst of the rain. Otherwise, remain calm and in control of the motorcycle. It is possible to safely navigate your way through a rainstorm. Try to relax and keep your cool. Do not make any jerky or abrupt movements. Avoid accelerating too quickly, braking abruptly or yanking the handlebars. Keep your movements smooth, gentle and calculated.
Maintain Your Motorcycle
Rain will already compromise your tire traction; you do not need worn tread making it even more difficult to grip the road. Always inspect your motorcycle for problems before heading out, especially if rain is in the forecast. Worn, flat or bald tires are red flags. Make sure you have all the equipment and gear you need to successfully ride in the rain. Use body leaning techniques to keep your motorcycle upright. The more rubber you can keep on the ground, the better your traction will be in the rain.