If there's anything predictable about New Jersey weather, it's the unpredictability. Even a short motorcycle ride can begin in bright sunshine and end in a rainstorm. It's not just inexperienced motorcyclists find severe storms challenging, as veterans of the road can attest.
If a sudden storm hits when you're on the road, bikes need to decide whether or not to pull over and wait it out. It's best to do that before the rain starts coming down too hard.
If you decide to pull off the road and seek shelter, be careful where you do that. Make sure that you're well away from traffic. The side of the road can be dangerous when drivers are sliding and having difficulty staying in their lanes. A coffee shop, gas station or diner is a safer alternative.
If you need to get to an appointment or you're already soaking wet and you just want to get home, here are some important safety tips for riding in a storm:
Keep it slow and smooth. Don't brake suddenly. Give yourself plenty of time and space to come to a complete stop. When going around a corner, do so slowly and smoothly. Don't accelerate aggressively. Use a higher gear than usual, as this makes accelerations smoother on wet roads.
Beware of storms' secondary effects. In addition to wet, slippery roads and reduced visibility, rainstorms can bring wind, hail and lightning — all of which can be particularly dangerous to motorcyclists. Storms can also cause flooded street drains, mudslides and downed trees and power lines, so watch out for unexpected hazards on the road.
Be prepared. Of course, it's always wise to be ready for all kinds of weather. That includes having good tires and sturdy high-visibility gear and clothing. It's a good idea to keep a "hi-viz" safety vest under your seat to slip on if you need to make sure that you're seen.
Even when they exercise all of these precautions, motorcyclists are in even greater danger of being injured in a crash caused by a reckless or negligent driver. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a motorcycle crash that was another motorist's fault, it's wise to find out what your legal options are for seeking compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other damages.