Weather Conditions and Motorcycle Accidents
Because motorcyclists are not protected from the elements by the roof of a car, the weather can play an important role in their safety. Rain and ice can significantly increase a motorcyclist’s chances of being in an accident, so it is always important for riders to consistently check the weather report and take all necessary precautions before traveling.Rain
Drivers of automobiles and trucks are protected from the rain and so are able to travel in relative safety during storms. Motorcyclists are exposed to the elements and as a result are more prone to injury from sliding, skidding, or losing control of their motorcycle. According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, motorcyclists who cannot avoid riding in the rain should:
- Brake and accelerate slowly;
- Attempt to complete turns before accelerating;
- Avoid last-minute reactions;
- Plan ahead to determine when it is appropriate to slow down or speed up; and
- Use engine braking for corners to avoid skidding.
Wet weather also makes normally safe surfaces hazardous for motorcyclists. Unsafe surfaces to be avoided include:
- Slick concrete;
- Manhole covers;
- Railroad tracks; and
- Oil spills.
Hot weather can be extremely dangerous for motorcyclists. In order to avoid heat stroke, heat exhaustion, or heat cramps, all of which can lead to even more serious injury, motorcyclists are advised to:
- Stay hydrated;
- Dress appropriately, which includes protecting the skin from exposure; and
- Open the vents on his or her helmet.
Cold weather can be just as dangerous to motorcyclists as extreme heat. Motorcyclists are encouraged to follow certain safety tips when they know the weather will be cold, which include:
- Keep the hands, feet, and torso warm;
- Wear a wind-proof jacket and pants;
- Seal the openings in collars and sleeves;
- Wear clothing made of insulating materials, such as wool; and
- Install a windshield.
While riding in wet, cold, or extremely hot weather is discouraged, there are a few safety tips that can help motorcyclists who must travel in adverse weather conditions. For instance, the Department of Motor Vehicles recommends that motorcyclists:
- Take a break at least once every two to three hours to avoid fatigue;
- Slow down when visibility is poor; and
- Refrain from traveling at night, even if the weather conditions are normal.
Weather conditions can play an important role in a motorcyclist’s safety. Slick roads may make it more difficult for other drivers to avoid collisions, and foggy weather may increase the chances that a motorist does not see a motorcyclist on the road. Heat stroke and hypothermia can both make a motorcyclist lose consciousness or cause him or her to be less able to react quickly to avoid an accident.
Motorcycle accidents can result in serious and life-threatening injuries. The chances of being injured in an accident are even higher when weather conditions are poor, so observing safety precautions is key to avoiding injury. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, please contact the experienced San Jose personal injury attorneys at Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. for a free consultation.Sources