Many safety tips are applicable whether you’re traveling by car or motorcycle. Of course, if you’re driving a car, you won’t need to wear a motorcycle helmet! But if you’re riding the road this Labor Day weekend, please, don’t leave home without it.
Tips for Motorcycle Travel
- Prepare your vehicle for long distance travel. Check your tire pressure, oils & fluids and headlights. Simple maintenance can prevent many of the problems that strand bikers on the side of the road before you leave your home.
- Plan ahead. Before you get on a highway, know your exit by name and number, and watch the signs as you near the off-ramp. Drivers making unexpected lane changes to exit often cause accidents.
- Wear reflective colors. Wearing bright colors and/or reflective clothing will make it easier for other people on the road to see you during the day and at night.
- Use a map or GPS. Surprisingly, few motorists plan their routes, even when driving through unfamiliar areas. Knowing the road is essential for safe driving – it allows you to anticipate lane changes and avoid a panicked search for directions.
- Leave early and avoid risks. Leave early and allow for delays in your travel schedule. Know your limitations. Don’t drive when tired, upset or physically ill.
- Be aware of trucks’ blind spots. When sharing the road with large trucks, be aware of their blind spots. If you can’t see the truck driver in his or her mirrors, then the truck driver can’t see you.
- Use your headlamp in daylight and at night. It takes only a second to turn on your motorcycle’s headlight. That second could make you more visible to other drivers and prevent a traffic accident.
- Be aware that objects in your mirror are distorted. A motorcycle rider has a much narrower field of vision than the side mirrors on a vehicle provide.
- Your relative size may be obscured. In a sea of traffic, it’s often difficult for drivers to see you, so share the road with a lot of cushion in front and behind and on both sides.
It’s hard to compete against a 2,500 moving piece of steel and chrome when your bike weighs half that. So be certain you can handle yourself on the road before you take off for a busy holiday weekend.
Our best advice serves bikers is pay attention. Inattention is one of the most common contributing factors of crashes.