Summertime is undeniably motorcycle season, but in the extreme heat and humidity Georgia, Alabama, and Florida experience, sometimes the weather is genuinely too hot to properly enjoy yourself outdoors. Here’s how riders can stay safe and cool during a motorcycle trip, even when the weather doesn’t want to cooperate.

  1. Avoid riding during the hottest hours of the day.

When possible, plan to stay off the road when the sun is high overhead. Get an early start, break for an early and long lunch, and pick up again in the early evening to avoid the most intense hours of heat.

  1. Don’t dress down, dress smart.

When the temperature starts rising, you may be tempted to ditch the heavy motorcycle leathers and jeans for shorts and short sleeves. DON’T.

Every piece of gear, from your jacket and helmet to your boots and gloves, is necessary for a reason. Motorcycle gear is designed to cover any exposed skin and protect it from shredding on contact with the road in a fall or crash. Taking off gear puts you at risk of severe road rash, broken bones, and worse.

On sunny days, your gear will also protect you from sunburn, which is vital if you are going to be out riding under the sun for hours at a stretch. Although it might seem strange, your gear will actually help keep you cool as well! Sweating is how the body cools itself down, but when the wind is hitting you as you ride, sweat will evaporate off your exposed skin too quickly to actually cool you like it’s supposed to, leaving you dehydrated and overheated.

Instead, look for vented gear in bright, light colors that reflect light and heat (as opposed to black, which will absorb heat from the sun). Most pieces of motorcycle gear are available with vents, including jackets, pants, gloves, boots, and helmets. Cooling vests and neck wraps can also be worn underneath your gear to further increase your comfort.

Related Reading: How to Make Yourself More Visible to Cars When on a Motorcycle

  1. Stay hydrated.

Always bring plenty of water with you whenever you ride. A good rule of thumb is to bring more than you expect to drink, because you will probably need it. The more you sweat, the more water you lose. The faster you become dehydrated, the more you will need to drink to replace that lost water. If you don’t have much storage space on your bike to carry extra water, consider a hydration pack (a water bottle worn as a backpack with a drinking tube that reaches to your mouth), which are available at most motorcycle and sporting goods stores.

It’s also important to pay attention to what you’re drinking. Sugary drinks and those that contain caffeine are diuretics, which means they cause your body to lose fluids faster rather than hydrate you.

  1. Take plenty of breaks.

One danger many riders don’t consider when they head out on hot days is heat exhaustion. On days when the thermometer is rising past 90-degrees F, don’t try to go as fast or as far as you would when the sun is less intense. Heat illness is a very serious medical condition and can even be fatal. In the best-case scenario, it will still affect your ability to safely operate your motorcycle.

As soon as you start feeling ill, that’s your sign to pull over and get out of the sun and to someplace cool, whether it’s a shady spot or an air-conditioned building. Common symptoms of heat-related illness include:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Cramps

Left untreated, heat exhaustion can quickly become heat stroke. Victims of heat stroke may fall unconscious or even suffer seizures, which is not something you want to happen while traveling at 65 mph on the highway.

  1. Watch your oil and engine temperature.

The heat isn’t only going to affect you; it’s going to affect your motorcycle, too. Signs of an overheating engine include a loss in power, and knocking, smoke, or bad smell coming from the engine. If your motorcycle overheats, you may be left stranded on the side of the road. In the worst-case scenario, you may even crash.

If you often ride in hot weather, consider switching to an engine oil with a higher weight. Synthetic oil is also more resistant to breaking down than conventional oil. You may consider purchasing an oil cooler to further protect your engine against extreme heat.

Make sure to check your coolant levels as well. Like engine oil, your coolant can also break down over time and especially in hot weather, which is why it should be flushed and replaced every two years or 30,000 miles.

Motorcycle Wreck? Get Gary Bruce.

At the Law Offices of Gary Bruce, we know how often motorcycle riders are blamed for crashes that weren’t their fault, simply because insurance companies, law enforcement, and juries are often biased against them.  We have been handling claims by injured motorcycle riders in Columbus, Phenix City, and Ft. Benning for over 30 years.  We have the experts and experience to make sure the injured person gets the medical care they need and the compensation they deserve.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle crash through no fault of your own, contact our Georgia motorcycle accident lawyers today. We can help you get the money you deserve for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.