Here are a few points to remember for bikers to drive safely in the rain.
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1. First and foremost thing to take care of while driving in the rain is to wear the proper attire. Rain proof jackets, trousers and boot covers preferably one with high visibility will help protect you from rain water seeping in and ultimately leading to cold, fever or other ailments. Also, make sure to cover your face because the speed at which the water droplets fall will probably hurt you and make driving difficult. During rainy seasons, have all these in your vehicle box.
2. Make sure your bike has the appropriate tires necessary for driving in slippery roads. Slick tires may cause skidding and other mishaps.
3. During times of low visibility, turn on your headlights even if it’s during the day. This will help you see what is in front of you and on roads with two way traffic this helps the approaching vehicle be careful too preventing accidents.
4. Do not over speed or try to overtake vehicles. Staying in the speed limit or staying below speed limit is an absolute essential and so is keeping a safe distance between your vehicles as you never know what the other drivers are going to do and in some cases, their decisions might affect you. The amount of speed you can drive depends on your tires and brakes and their ability to grip wet pavement or make a smooth stop. Do not apply sudden brakes as it will cause bike to aquaplane. Also, since your front tires are more likely to slide off quickly, it would be advisable to use your rear brakes more because the rear tires are easily stopped.
5. Protect yourself from hydroplaning. Hydroplaning can be caused when you are driving over a huge gathering of water with no idea what you’re driving into and with very low traction. The puddle may be shallow, narrow, filled with stones or very deep and in these cases, making sudden decisions or speeding over could cause a fall out. Remain calm, drive straight and slow until you get out of the water. Also, avoid places that are flooded unless you absolutely have to and have no other choice or way. Or watch a preceding sail by to judge the depth of the water because when water enters the bike carburetor, it causes the bike to stop and has starting problems. And very deep water bodies could make your bike lose contact with the ground and float.
6. Drive slowly in turnings than you would under non rainy conditions. When roads are slippery, turning fast could make you slide more and in case of a skid leave the accelerator completely and put your foot down to reduce the effect of the slide.
7. The first rain after complete dryness for days, weeks or months has to be carefully noted for. The engine oil from the vehicles and the dirt build up on the roads during non rainy periods which get washed off first thing during the first rain and this makes the road extra slippery. The rainbow like thing on the road after rains is the oil that has mixed with water and driving over it is not advisable. Avoid it or slow down to a stop while crossing it. Similarly, driving over wet or dry sand is also extremely dangerous if you do not lower the speed.
8. Stay relaxed and supple while driving. This enables smooth driving instead of a rigid and tense stance. Don’t sit upright; it is all right to sit a little slumped down in your seat and hold your handle bars smoothly and lightly instead of holding them in a death grip. This helps your elbows, shoulders and body move freely instead of feeling constricted.
9. Never accelerate. There is a good reason why traffic rules in many countries mandate reduction in speed during rains.
10. If you think it is too late to avoid driving on a particular patch, the absolute no-no includes not tensing up and braking or slowing the bike down completely. This will only cause the front tires to slide more quickly. Don’t panic, relax and let your vehicle slowly glide through the patch at nominal speed, careful driving and a positive attitude.
Remember, if thunder and lightning increase, it is always better to stay under cover. So if you’re outdoors, head for cover immediately. But don’t stop under a tree. Riding your bike in the rain may be slightly difficult than under normal conditions and sometimes, riding in the rain will be necessary. But do not stop riding just because it is raining. Just relax. You’re doing something you love to do and Motor biking is always fun. With experience you’ll feel comfortable.
Enjoy the Ride!