Riding a motorcycle in Alaska can be a joy. The striking scenery is unlike anything you can see elsewhere in America. After a long winter, many of us are eager to take our motorcycles out for a spin. However, there are a few weather dangers you need to look for when riding this time of year.
What weather dangers do I need to keep an eye out for?
Snowfall and cold temperatures: Although the weather is getting warmer, it is not yet summer. The temperatures in Alaska are still chilly. According to CurrentResults.com, our average daily high temperature in Anchorage is only 35 degrees Fahrenheit in March; March’s average daily low is 19 degrees. And while we often get around five inches of snow in March, we can get as much as 14 inches some years.
Wind Chill: The freedom of riding a motorcycle is like nothing else — the feeling of no cage around you and the wind in your face is hard to describe. Unfortunately, that same freedom can be dangerous. Because you have no protection from the elements on a bike, you feel cold more acutely than passenger car drivers.
If you do not prepare yourself (e.g., wear gloves, a leather jacket, boots, goggles, etc.), the cold can chill your hands and make controlling your bike difficult.
Ice: The warmer weather will also bring snowmelt, which can cause water runoffs on the roads. In shaded areas, this runoff can freeze into dangerous black ice. Whenever the temperature is within a few degrees of freezing, be aware that ice patches are a risk.
Avoid areas such as bridges and underpasses that tend to freeze. If you cannot avoid these areas altogether when riding your motorcycle, slow down and watch for slick areas.
Wet Roads: With the change of seasons comes rain. Rainy weather can cause slick roads, especially in the first 15 minutes of rainfall, when the rain is washing oil off the roads. Your best defense during rainy weather is to slow down. Give yourself time to react to the slick roads. Avoid sudden changes in your speed, as quick starts and sudden braking can cause you to skid out and lose control of your bike.
Be particularly cautious when driving over any painted areas on rain-soaked roads. Painted lane markers and other painted road surfaces can be extremely slick when wet.
Take special care to avoid puddles as they can cause you to hydroplane and lose control of your motorcycle.
Road Hazards: You still face dangers after the last snow fall has occurred and all the ice and snow have melted. This is, in part, due to snow tires. While these tires allow cars to grip the road and maneuver more safely, they also often cause road damage such as potholes. Hitting a pothole while riding can be deadly.
Potholes can be even more dangerous when it rains as you might not see it until it is too late. It is best to proceed cautiously when the roads are wet, keeping a lookout for hidden potholes.
The damage that creates potholes can also leave behind loose gravel and other debris. Always keep an eye out for any hazards and be prepared to make an evasive maneuver.
Remember, Drivers Cannot Avoid What They Cannot See
Motorcycles are already difficult to see. In the early days of spring, visibility can be an even bigger issue. Rain and fog can decrease a driver’s sight distance and can make it difficult to see even five feet in front of you.
Never stay too long in a driver’s blind spots and always leave plenty of room when changing lanes in front of a passenger car or truck. Always signal your intention to change lanes.
How can I get help?
Even though riding a motorcycle is great fun, it always comes with dangers. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by another driver’s negligent behavior, contact an Anchorage motorcycle accident attorney at Kelley & Canterbury, L.L.C.
Our team knows how catastrophic motorcycle accidents can be. We will evaluate and handle your claim so you can focus on getting better and getting your life back. We also know that motorcycle accidents often lead to high medical bills and keep victims out of work for months. We believe that all accident victims should be able to get legal help regardless of their financial situation. For this reason, we do not charge for our services until you recover compensation.
We will fight to get you everything you deserve. Call us today for your free, no-obligation consultation: 907-276-8185.