Motorcycle Safety in the Rain: Hello El Niño

Motorcycle in the rain.

We had a surprising amount of rain earlier this week, and more is on the way. And although Southern California doesn’t get as much rain as the northern part (we’re looking at you, San Francisco), when we do get rain, it’s usually a strong storm. And it usually leads to flooded areas, and quickly.

Anyone who has driven on the SoCal freeways when it rains knows that we seem to lose our minds when water falls from the sky. Mainly, that’s because we don’t drive any differently, thinking that we’ll be able to brake and see just as well as when it’s bone dry.

WRONG.

And when you’re on a motorcycle, you need to be even more aware of your surroundings, with the added fun of getting soaked without the protective shell of a car. And if you don’t have that alternative, here are our tips for motorcycle safety in the rain:

  • The most dangerous time is right after it starts raining, so avoid driving during that time if possible. The rain fills in the cracks and divots in the road, pushing the oil to the top, creating a very slick surface. If you’re caught in the start of a rainstorm, maybe stop for a cup of coffee.
  • If the amount of rain is limiting visibility, that’s another good time to stop for that cup of coffee. In many situations here in SoCal, the bursts of rain are heavy, but short.
  • Prepare ahead with an anti-fog treatment on your helmet or goggles to prevent them from fogging up when it starts raining. You can also leave your face shield partially open to prevent your visibility from being impaired by the shield fogging up.
  • Pretend you’re a car and don’t tailgate or weave in and out of traffic. Leave plenty of space between you and the car in front of you in case you need to stop quickly—your traction may be impaired due to rain. If someone is tailgating you, pull into the next lane or off the road.
  • Tap your breaks occasionally to remove water and dirt from rotors.
  • Drive slower, because all of that water will create a high risk of hydroplaning. Also, you’ll be able to reduce your lean angle on turns and keep greater control of your motorcycle.

Ideally, we’d prefer you didn’t ride your motorcycle during El Niño, but we know that sometimes there is not another option. So we would strongly encourage you to wear a helmet, drive defensively, and make sure your insurance policy is up to date. Call us for a free review—even if your policy is with another company! 714-838-1911
Copyright: opal1 / 123RF Stock Photo

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