If you’ve spent any time at all on a bike, chances are you’ve run into nasty weather at one time or another. Whether it’s a gentle rain, a crashing thunderstorm, or the wail of a tornado warning, how do you stay safe when there is bad weather on the road? Here are a few tips from fellow riders:
- Stay AWAY from highway overpasses if there are tornado warnings. Click here for an explanation of how an overpass can be MORE dangerous than being out in the open. It may not be pleasant, but if you’re in the path of a tornado, you’re much safer diving for the ditch than holing up under a bridge.
- Be aware of how cars are affected by rain and wind. If they have a hard time seeing you when it’s clear, rain-spattered windshields and windows will make you even more difficult to spot.
- The slickest time for the road is right after a storm starts and the wet is mixing with all the accumulated road oil and grime.
- Keep storm gear handy in your saddlebags and put it on when rain threatens. Hypothermia is no fun while in motion (or any time, really). It dulls your reaction time and clouds your decision-making.
- Lightning and motorcycles are not a good combination. There’s a myth that says you’re as safe on a bike as you are in your car, but according to the National Weather Service, you should seek a safe shelter as soon as you hear the first rumble of thunder.
- You can get hit by lighting even if it’s not raining, or if there aren’t clouds directly overhead – check out these cool photos of “bolts from the blue.”
- In hot weather, be aware of how heat can affect your riding. Stay hydrated, take frequent breaks, and dress appropriately. Even if you’re tempted to show some skin, consider staying as covered up as possible – exposed skin opens you up to sunburn and getting dehydrated much faster.