By Fort Huachuca Safety OfficeJuly 15, 2013
Fort Huachuca, AZ. - Monsoon season is here and brings increased riding hazards for motorcyclists and potential for accidents. Riders should know -- and practice -- proper risk management.
Take precautions before riding bikes in rainy weather as several factors will affect the machine's performance and make riding unsafe. Some of these conditions are slippery roads, low visibility, potholes, stagnant water and road debris left behind by the rain.
Have the bike serviced regularly to avoid having it stall in heavy rains. The brakes should be in good condition; worn out pads or liners reduce their efficiency and lead to accidents. Have drum brakes cleaned from the inside, and replace the brake shoes and pads. Those with disc brakes should get them checked. Verify the level of brake oil.
Do not ride on bald or worn-out tires at any time, particularly during monsoon; the treads provide grip and disperse water. Make sure treads are deep enough on both the tires' center position and on the sides. A minimum of 2 to 3 mm of tread depth is necessary for safe riding.
Tire pressure also makes a difference when driving on wet surfaces. Check it regularly.
Lubricate the bike's hinges and levers so they move freely.
Avoid motorcycling in the rain if possible. Those who must ride should take extra precautions.
Slow down. Rain causes oil in the road to rise to the surface. Water and oil make the road both wet and slick.
Take corners slowly in any condition, but especially when roads are wet. If possible, do not use brakes in a curve or when cornering. Those who must use them should gradually apply both front and rear brakes when leaning into the corner.
Uneven dirt roads, loose gravel and other unknown factors such as debris on the road should alert drivers to proceed with caution. Expect the unexpected; allow maximum time to slow down and stop, if necessary.
The three-second rule does not apply in the adverse conditions described above; allow plenty of space between you and the vehicle ahead.
Always have 360 degrees of operational visibility to better react to the unexpected.
Flash flooding is extremely common during monsoon season, and riders should not try to run through a fast moving wash with the potential to be swept away by the rushing water or be hit by floating debris. If drivers have to be rescued, they could be fined and possibly charged for the rescue expenses.