Motorcycle drivers in Virginia can take advantage of beautiful scenery, historic roadways and the exhilarating feel of wind in their hair. But they also face safety challenges on the road.
Here are some safety tips that may help prevent injury or death in a motorcycle accident.
Always wear a helmet
As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports, a motorcyclist is 27 times more likely to die in a crash than someone who is riding in another type of vehicle. Department of Transportation-certified helmets can save lives. The thick foam inside these helmets is designed to prevent or mitigate brain injury, but only 64 percent of motorcyclists wear them.
Never drive impaired
Driving drunk can be one of the last mistakes a motorcyclist ever makes. NHTSA data from 2014 found that in over 40 percent of single-vehicle crashes in which a motorcyclist died, the motorcyclist was under the influence of alcohol. But alcohol is only one of the substances that can impair a motorcyclist’s ability to drive. Prescription medication and illicit drugs alike can also dull a motorcyclist’s judgment and put them at risk.
Wear proper clothing
While the open road can present a thrilling ride, it can also cause devastating injuries when it comes in contact with bare skin. Motorcyclists should always cover their arms and legs when riding. Proper eye protection is important, too. Regular glasses can slip off and don’t provide enough of a barrier to wind, rain or insects. Many helmets come equipped with face shields, but motorcycle goggles are a good substitute if needed.
Practice before hitting the road
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation recommends taking formal training classes before driving a motorcycle. Drivers should also practice maneuvering in various weather and road conditions before facing life-or-death stakes driving with other vehicles.