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Stay safe on your motorcycle in bad weather

With fall just around the corner, the weather is becoming more erratic. It could start off as a nice, sunny day when you hop on your motorcycle in the morning, but by noon, a storm could roll in and you might be trying to maneuver through not-so-optimal conditions. Part of riding a motorcycle means having the ability to adapt to changing weather conditions.

Before you jump on your bike and head out of Franklin on your next adventure, even if it is just for an afternoon, be sure you are prepared for changing weather conditions. Read below for some tips to help you stay safe when Mother Nature has other plans.

Rain, snow, sleet and hail

Precipitation is definitely not your friend when you are on a motorcycle. In fact, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) says that when it first begins to rain is when you are at your greatest risk of an accident. The reason for this is that as the rain fills up in even the smallest cracks in the road, oil from other motor vehicles rises to the top and creates an extremely slick surface. While you cannot control this particular condition, there are things you can do to help you manage your ride.

If precipitation is falling hard enough that you cannot sufficiently see what is in front of you, it is time to pull over and wait it out. Sometimes, when the weather changes, there can be a sudden fluctuation in the temperature. This can cause your goggles or the visor on your helmet to fog up.

Before you head out, take a moment to apply an anti-fog product to your face shield or goggles so that you don't get caught by surprise. Also, keep plenty of space between you and other vehicles. While you might be playing it safe, people operating cars or trucks may not be. Do not count on them to use caution. In addition, tapping your brakes occasionally will help to clean the rotors of any water or dirt that has accumulated during the ride.

Cold and windy weather

Riding in could or windy conditions can not only cause you to be distracted, but it can slow down your reaction time. Be sure you are wearing the right gear to withstand the cold and the wind. Consider dressing in layers and wearing a windproof outer garment. Also, keep your hands toasty warm by wearing insulated, full-fingered gloves. Opting for gauntlet style gloves will also help keep the wind from blowing up your coat sleeves.

If you find yourself in severely windy weather, lean into it to hold your position more securely. Also, ride on the side of the lane where the wind is coming from. By doing this, you can avoid being blown into another lane or off the road by a sudden gust.

While the above tips can help keep you safe in poor weather conditions, it is not always possible to avoid every motorcycle accident. When riding a motorcycle, you have no control over the decisions of the people driving cars and trucks around you. This means that no matter what kind of precautions you take, you can still become the victim of a reckless or negligent driver.

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