For many riders, the thought of riding the highway might be overwhelming and frightening. The higher speeds and several cars around you can be quite intimidating. There is no denying that riding a motorcycle on a highway is an entirely different experience as compared to doing it in the sea, especially for new riders.
However, one should not let their fear of the highway stop them from enjoying a good ride on it. It might even be safer than the surface roads as the entire traffic is going in one direction and following the same speed limit. Before you go tackling it with confidence, read the following tips to know how to be safe when riding a bike on a highway.
Entering the Highway
The most important thing about entering a highway is that you should do it at a speed that will let you seamlessly join the highway. You should match the speed of the vehicles in the left-hand lane so that you are able to smoothly integrate with others who are using the same road. If this step is done correctly, the rest of the journey will be convenient for you.
For less experienced drivers, this can be a scary proposition, especially during the busy times of the day. To make it as safe as possible for you and the rest, signal early that you want to join the highway and carry out a blind spot checking before merging on the main lane. Your bike will go up the speed faster than other vehicles so make sure that you do it smoothly.
Choose the Right Lane
The highway you’re be riding on is likely to have more than two lanes. The safest place for any motorcycle rider is the far-left lane as this will keep you out of the way of the merging vehicles. You should always account for senseless drivers who don’t care about the lanes while merging and cause trouble to the traffic already on the highway.
While you are in the far-left lane, make sure that you maintain a good speed and do not let the sea of cars cause you any fear. As long as your concentration is on the road and you are well aware of your surroundings, you will be fine irrespective of the lane you are in.
Keep a Steady Speed
While it may be fun to ride at a high speed on the highway, it is nothing but foolish. Given that all the vehicles are at a great speed. Follow the given speed limit because excessive speeds can result in terrible accidents on a highway. Showing off the capabilities of your motorcycle is never worth a life.
However, you should go slightly faster than the vehicles around you to stay out of their blind spots. Given that you are riding a bike, you should be extra careful in observing speed limits and not doing anything out of the traffic regulations while being on the highway.
Never Lose Your Concentration
With so many vehicles traveling at such fast speeds, you should be extra careful and vigilant while riding your motorcycle on the highway. Sometimes, a vehicle may change the lane without indicating. Therefore, it is important that you are alert and able to deal with such situations calmly and safely.
If any time you start feeling a bit tired or sleepy, it is better to stop at the next service station and relax for a while. Take a little break and re-energize yourself for the remaining journey. You cannot compromise on your spatial awareness because a little mistake can result in a motorcycle accident injury or worse, cost someone their life.
Wear the Safety Gear
As you drive on the highway, it is your responsibility to protect yourself by wearing the right gear. The motorcycle gear includes a helmet, a motorbike jacket, safety gloves, boots, pants, and a riding suit. Apart from these, you can also wear ear protection or eye protection accessories to ensure that you are protected on the road at all times.
Wearing these items is your responsibility and you cannot compromise your well-being at any cost. All this protective gear might not be able to save you from an accident but it will definitely bring down the impact. They can keep you from suffering a fatal injury or even death.
Since you’re smaller than everyone else on the highway, it is quite easy for other motorists not to spot your motorcycle. Cars and trucks might change their lanes without even the slightest idea that you might be coming up. The most important task for you is to stay away from other people’s blind eye.
Make sure that other drivers are able to notice you even from a distance. And for this, you need to give up the all-black attire and wear brightly-colored gear, especially helmets and jackets, that can be noticed even from a distance. Be sure to check out great options for travel accessories.
Maintain a Safe Distance
The faster speed you are traveling at, the larger the braking distance. Usually, the vehicles moving on a highway are at a speed of 70mph, so a distance of at least 2 seconds needs to be maintained between you and the vehicle in the front to reduce the possibility of a collision.
If the vehicle in front of you suddenly applies brakes, you need to have enough time to make your motorcycle come to a halt. If the vision is not clear or if the weather is unfavorable, you must maintain a safe distance of more than 2 seconds to avoid a visit to an auto injury chiropractor.
Always have an escape route
While it’s a perk that you’re riding a more maneuverable vehicle, remember that you’re also more vulnerable to accidents and injuries compared to those driving their cars.
As such, a crucial part of riding a motorcycle safely on a highway is ensuring you always have an escape route. It’s basically an alternate path of travel, which you can take should any hazard arise along your path.
Generally, you should ride on the driver or passenger wheel side of the lane you are in instead of settling in the center. Through that, it will be easier for you to escape should a car driver suddenly hit the brakes or should you notice any debris or obstacle along the road.
No matter what the conditions are, always find that open space. There’s always an open space. Just find where it is so you’ll always have an escape route should anything go wrong.
Save night riding when you gain more experience
If you’re still getting used to riding motorcycles, it’s best to avoid riding them after the sun goes down for your utmost safety. Riding at night, especially on the highway, is a whole different realm.
It requires the right gear, more expertise, and more concentration. In general, you have to lower your speeds at night and ride within what your eyes can process from what you only see in the headlight.
Be also wary that motorcycles often have weak stock headlights, which means you may need to spend money to upgrade to better equipment, as well as on additional high-visibility reflective clothing.
Until you’ve given yourself enough time to hone your skills and have invested in the proper gear, riding at night is best left to more experienced and equipped riders.
Check the weather forecast
Inclement weather is a nightmare for motorcycle riders. Rain and snow can quickly affect your visibility, while wet and icy roads add danger to driving due to less traction. Not to mention that the lack of a windshield and your body’s exposure to outside elements also increases the risks.
With that, it’s best to check the weather forecast before heading out to the highway. If inclement weather is expected, choose a different day and save yourself from the hurt of being pelted by raindrops whilst traveling 30 to 50 miles per hour.
Ensure the Health of Your Bike
Sometimes it becomes inevitable but you should try your best to avoid breaking down on the highway. You could be waiting for hours before you can find someone who can make the problem go away and repair your motorcycle. You would not like to catch yourself in the middle of the highway with help hundreds of miles away.
The best way to avoid such a situation is to keep a regular check on your motorcycle. Ensure that the tension in the chain of your motorcycle is at the correct level, the tires are in a perfectly working condition, and the brakes are working just fine. You should be regular on the maintenance of your bike if you don’t want to encounter any unpleasant incident.
While being on the highway, you have to think quickly and make fast decisions without any kind of hesitation. You should be aware of your surroundings, including other vehicles, debris on the road, and traffic obstacles. Know your way so that you don’t have to make last-minute turns to make change your route or make an exit.
It is safe to ride your motorcycle on the highway but it is still advisable that one should avoid it during the dark hours or when it is raining. Even if you’re being extra careful, you might end up in an undesirable situation because of your traveling conditions. Be as safe as you can while being on the road and keep all your fears at bay to enjoy your wonderful journey.