Five tips for driving two-wheelers in monsoon
Are you worried about riding your two-wheeler through the downpours this rainy season?
The deteriorating road conditions and overflowing rivers adds to the woes and it could get quite challenging to manoeuvre through puddles and pot holes to reach your destination safely. Poor visibility and slippery roads add to the misery of the motorcyclists, making them more susceptible to accidents. First thing to realise is that riding on wet roads can be a totally distinct experience than riding on dry roads. It is very important that all systems on your bike are functioning properly, especially when you are riding in the monsoon. Below are some tips in mind to keep yourself safe and to enjoy your ride too.
Check your tyres and electricals
Biking gets challenging as the wet roads are hard to get a grip on. Optimal tyre pressure is key to have a stable and safe ride. Tyre pressure is measured in PSI (pounds per square inch) unit. Every bike has a unique PSI level set depending on the model of the bike and the tyres used. Over pressured tyres lead to lesser traction on the road surface which can cause skidding. In this rainy season, keep the PSI level a little lower than recommended level to create more traction and better grip. One can also install specialized monsoon tyres or else use the regular ones provided they have optimum tread levels for a good grip. Tyre treads should have at least half its shelf life to provide adequate traction.
It is important to check the battery life and all electricals of the bike are well connected and insulated to avoid break circuit malfunctioning especially when it encounters rain water. Riding with headlight and or blinkers on is highly recommended during heavy rains. Make sure that the bike headlights, tail lights and indicators are clean. Keep the headlight on low beam, so as not to hamper the vision of the oncoming vehicles. Use high beam only when necessary.
Riding during the rains leads to lot of dirt getting accumulated on the bike which could comprise smooth functioning. It is advisable to get the bike cleaned at least twice in a week if you are a regular rider.
Be gentle on the brakes
It is very important to get the brakes checked and serviced on a regular basis especially before the onset of monsoon. Brake pads, cables need to be replaced and brake fluid topped up, if required.
Most current bike models have front disc brakes installed for the front tyres and drums brakes for the rear. Disc brakes provide better and quicker braking as compared to drum brakes. However, it is important to engage the front disc brakes gently during the rains as sudden stoppage of the rotating front wheel could cause loss of type grip and skidding especially on a wet surface. Whereas using only the drum brakes may not provide the necessary power to bring the motorbike to a standstill.
A tried and tested method could be first to press the drum brakes and then slightly tap the front disc brakes to bring your bike to stop without losing control. Using only the front disc brakes, could result in a hazardous slip.
For bikes with both disc and drum brakes, it is recommended to engage both front and rear brakes in a gentle manner to ensure the bike stops in a timely manner without the rider losing balance.
Maintain safe distance and go easy
Maintaining a consistent speed limit and safe distance while riding within city limits and in traffic will ensure that you do not have to engage your brakes suddenly which could cause you to lose control or skid. Make sure you keep a close watch on road conditions, especially for potholes. It is best to alter your driving style and be more cautious during the monsoon, to stay in control of the vehicle.
Long rides during monsoons can be extremely fun but make sure you avoid high speeds and slow down on curves and corners, use a less lean angle to turn to maintain more contact patch between the tyre and road.
Wearing appropriate riding gear
The heavy downpours reduce visibility of the drivers around you, hence it is best to invest in high visibility rain gear. Colours like yellow and orange are preferred, while you can get reflective stickers for your motorcycle. The choice of helmet determines the importance you give to safety, so opt for full faced helmet with reflective stripes, so it can provide better visibility and protection. Choose to replace the helmet visor, if there are scratches on it or does not give clear view of the road.
Be mindful of your surroundings
Follow your instinct and be watchful of your surrounding always. An open drain, a fallen tree or just small animals on the roadside are easy mistakes waiting to happen. In case of waterlogging, you need to ensure that your engine is on the boil to avoid getting any water to seep in. Ride slow and avoid puddles altogether as you do not know how deep it goes.
Keep Calm and Enjoy Your Ride
Riding during the monsoon can get tiring with traffic jams and bad roads within city limits. It is also good idea to stop riding during lashing rains and restart once the intensity reduces.
You do not need to get worried about riding in the monsoon. Take the necessary precautions, maintain your bike and avoid reckless riding. The trick is to be smart, be patient and enjoy your monsoon rides, safely.