This is a guest post by Scott Haas, Motorcycle Safety Program Coordinator
With the hottest days of summer on the horizon, motorcyclists need to practice safe riding techniques as the temperatures rise. Here are some tips to help keep you safer in the summer months:
- Stay hydrated – while out riding in the summer heat, sweat evaporates quicker than most people realize. Maintaining proper hydration will help slow the dangerous effects of dehydration. Water, milk, fruit-infused water, fruit juice, sports drinks, and tea are the best liquids to keep yourself hydrated. Front loading your hydration is a wise move because once you feel the effects of dehydration, it is too late. Alcohol should be avoided because of the effects on good judgment and your riding skills.
- Wear proper gear – thinking about how quickly your sweat will evaporate without it, wearing full, proper riding gear can help keep you from dehydrating as quickly. Aside from offering protection from injury, full riding gear can help slow down the rate at which sweat evaporates, slowing down how quickly you become dehydrated. A DOT helmet includes an impact-absorbing layer, which is made up of expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam) that is a little denser than the Styrofoam in a cooler and an excellent insulator.
- Take frequent breaks – regardless of the range of your motorcycle, you should take a break every hour to hydrate. Whether you need to gas up your motorcycle or not, stopping for a break will give you time to grab a drink of water which will help keep you alert. In addition, dehydration will cause a loss of mental abilities that could lead to making bad decisions which could end an awesome ride in disaster.
Exercising some common sense when the temperature goes up will help ensure all your rides end safely at home.
Scott is the Coordinator of the Motorcycle Safety Program at Harper College and has been involved in rider education for nearly 30 years. He has ridden in all kinds of weather conditions, from near freezing (below freezing factoring in wind chill) to more than 100°. Taking frequent breaks has helped him have trouble-free rides in the best and worst conditions.