If you’re new to motorcycling, taking your bike out after dark can be daunting. The accident attorneys at Thomas, Conrad & Conrad know that motorcyclists can face additional hazards at night. These tips for nighttime motorcycle safety can help increase your visibility and avoid crashes.
Why Riding In The Dark Is More Dangerous
When the sun goes down, your vision and the vision of those around you is significantly reduced. It becomes more difficult to identify hazards, judge corners, and see what’s ahead of you. It is also much harder for other motorists to see you, so it’s critical to make sure you make yourself as visible as possible when riding at night.
Other factors that can make riding more dangerous at night include an increased number of drunk drivers, animals, and other unseen hazards in the road. Fog and falling temperatures may also impede your vision. If you’re involved in an accident in a rural area at night, it’s much less likely that someone will pass by and see that you need help. Learning more about how to deal with these dangers and staying vigilant about nighttime motorcycle safety can help make your ride smooth sailing.
Make Yourself Visible
Poor visibility is a leading cause of motorcycle accidents. There are several ways you can make yourself visible to other motorists:
Wear clothing that is easily seen in the dark. Fluorescent orange, yellow, green, pink, and white can make you more visible to other drivers during the day and night. If you can’t afford to invest in high visibility gear, wearing a brightly colored, reflective safety vest, like the ones used by construction workers, is an affordable way to help other drivers see you.
Use reflective tape and decals. If you already have black motorcycle gear, putting reflective tape or decals on your jacket, pants, and helmet can help catch the attention of other motorists. You can also put it on the sides of your bike, the forks, panniers, saddlebags, and wheel rims.
Amplify your visibility with proper lighting. Always check the lights on your motorcycle before hitting the road. LED light bulbs are an inexpensive, long-lasting way to help increase your visibility. Brake light flashers and a headlight modulator can also alert motorists of your presence. There are all types of custom auxiliary lights you can add to make your bike stand out in the dark.
Improve your night vision. The headlights of oncoming vehicles can be blinding. Looking at the far-right line at the edge of the road can help keep light from shining directly in your eyes and keep you straight and steady in your lane. Your headlight can only help you see so far, so using other cars’ headlights as an extension of your own can help you identify hazards such as potholes and debris. If you wear glasses, make sure they’re clean, and give the visor on your helmet a good cleaning as well. Riding with a tinted visor or sunglasses at night is not advisable.
Be Alert And Drive Safely
As always, it’s essential to stay alert when riding your motorcycle. Scanning between the horizon and your mirrors can help you be more aware of your surroundings and allow you to see what’s behind without having to turn your head. Avoid riding in blind spots of other vehicles as much as you can. Turn your signals on well before changing lanes, merging, or turning. It’s also important to increase your following distance to add a few seconds to your reaction time. When turning or cornering, brake before you turn. This gives your tires more traction and your bike more stability, especially on damp or wet surfaces.
Don’t Drink And Drive
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 26% of motorcyclists involved in fatal accidents in 2018 were drunk. Alcohol slows your reaction time and impairs your judgment, reasoning, and muscle coordination. While it can be tempting to have a few beers with friends while you’re out at night, if you’re riding a motorcycle, it’s best to avoid alcohol altogether.
Contact A Motorcycle Accident Lawyer In Pennsylvania
Although these motorcycle nighttime safety tips can help make your ride safer and more pleasant, sometimes accidents can’t be prevented. If you’ve been hurt in a crash that was caused by someone else’s negligence, our motorcycle accident attorneys at Thomas, Conrad & Conrad can help. Call us in Bethlehem at 610-867-2900, or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation. We serve clients throughout the Pocono Mountains region and the Lehigh Valley. You can also visit our other offices in Allentown, Stroudsburg, and Topton, PA.