Many factors can affect motorcyclists’ safety while riding. Among the most critical factors for rider safety are weather conditions. Because riders’ bodies are exposed when they’re on a motorcycle, they may face increased risks of an accident while riding through adverse weather. A rider who gets hurt in a crash caused by another motorist’s failure to adjust their driving behaviors because of the weather may have the right to pursue financial recovery for their injuries and losses. 

Are Motorcyclists More Vulnerable to Accidents During Bad Weather?

Unfortunately, motorcycle riders have a higher risk of accidents in bad weather than other motorists. Being exposed to adverse weather elements may make riders uncomfortable and distracted or put them at risk of medical emergencies like frostbite or hypothermia. Bad weather can make maintaining control and balance on a motorcycle more challenging. 

Adverse weather conditions also make safe driving harder for other motorists, potentially increasing the chances that a driver collides with a motorcycle. 

How Different Types of Weather Events Affect Riders

Different kinds of weather conditions can pose hazards for motorcyclists. For example, rain can make road surfaces slick, either due to water mixing with motor oil and other vehicle fluids or standing water that can increase the risk of hydroplaning. In this condition, a tire loses contact with the pavement and instead rides along the top of a puddle of water. Heavy rain can also impair visibility for motorcycle riders, either due to rain blowing into their eyes or obscuring their view through goggles or a face shield. 

Cold weather also can make road surfaces treacherous due to the formation of black ice. Black ice forms first on bridges and overpasses and can last long into the day on shaded areas of the road. Cold temperatures may also mean freezing rain or snow, forming ice patches on the road. 

Fog can reduce visibility for motorists, sometimes down to just a few feet. Since motorcycles are less noticeable to drivers than other vehicles due to their smaller size, reduced visibility in fog can make it even harder for drivers to see them. 

Heavy winds may make it challenging for motorcyclists to maintain control over their bikes and keep them upright. A sudden gust can cause motorcyclists to veer into an adjacent lane or topple over. High winds also affect larger vehicles like commercial trucks or buses, making it more likely that a commercial driver may drift into an adjacent lane and collide with another vehicle, like a motorcycle.

Finally, even a clear day may pose hazards for motorcyclists, as staring directly into the rising or setting sun can impair a rider’s vision. The glare from other vehicles or objects along the road can temporarily blind motorcycle riders and prevent them from seeing an imminent hazard.

Preventative Measures and Safe Riding Practices

Motorcyclists should learn what steps they can take to ride safely in adverse weather conditions. Some top safe riding practices include:

  • Slow down, even below the speed limit, when riding on slick roads to reduce the chances of skidding or hydroplaning.
  • Increase your following distance from other vehicles in slick conditions since you’ll need a longer distance to stop when the vehicle ahead of your motorcycle brakes.
  • Use low-beam headlights, especially during precipitation or fog, to improve visibility and avoid blinding other motorists.
  • Wear weatherproof riding leathers and gloves to stay comfortable and focused.
  • Always use both brakes.
  • Be prepared for sudden wind gusts, especially when passing trucks or large vehicles.
  • Always wear brightly-colored clothing or clothing with reflective materials to increase your visibility to other motorists.
  • Keep your motorcycle maintained, and always double-check your bike’s lights, indicators, and fluids before setting off. 
  • Avoid riding in adverse weather whenever possible. 
  • Equip your bike with winter/snow tires when riding in cold temperatures or with snow and ice on the road. 
  • Avoid making sudden maneuvers that may cause you to lose control of your bike or surprise other motorists. 

Who Is Liable for a Bad Weather Motorcycle Accident?

A motorist’s duty of care requires them to adjust their behavior while traveling through adverse weather conditions. As a result, a driver who fails to slow down, use low-beam headlights, or increase their following distance may bear liability for an accident with a motorcyclist. 

How Can Other Drivers Prevent Motorcycle Accidents?

Other motorists can help keep motorcycle riders safe during nasty weather by following tips, such as:

  • Slowing down, including driving below the speed limit if necessary
  • Using hazard lights when necessary to make their vehicles more visible to riders
  • Signaling in advance of turns or lane changes
  • Not making any sudden maneuvers
  • Refraining from using high beams that can blind oncoming riders

What To Do After a Motorcycle Accident Caused by Bad Weather

When you’ve had a crash on your motorcycle in adverse weather, you can put yourself in a favorable position to seek financial recovery for losses you have incurred or will incur due to the accident. Things to do after a motorcycle accident caused by bad weather include:

  • Seek medical treatment and follow your doctor’s recovery plan.
  • Obtain copies of medical records of your treatment and rehabilitation.
  • Request a copy of the police motor vehicle accident report.
  • Report the accident to your motorcycle insurance company. 
  • Keep all bills, invoices, and receipts of expenses from the accident, such as medical care or motorcycle repairs.
  • Gather copies of your pay stubs or income statements if you need to take time off work or experience a reduction in your earnings during your recovery.

Finally, contact a motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options for seeking compensation for injuries or property damage sustained in motorcycle crashes caused by bad weather. 

Contact Our Alabama Motorcycle Accident Attorneys for Help

After getting into an accident on your motorcycle in bad weather, you need experienced legal counsel to help you obtain financial compensation for your injuries and losses. Contact Stokes Stemle, LLC, today for a free, no-obligation consultation with a motorcycle accidents lawyer to discuss your legal options for pursuing financial recovery and accountability for injuries from motorcycle accidents