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One of the biggest thrills for a motorcyclist is setting out on a long road trip with friends. Road trips are a great way to see some sights and get away from all of your stresses for a weekend, but they are much different on a motorcycle than in a car. Particularly for new riders, an extended trip puts your skills to the test. For your own safety, it is imperative to have the proper experience under your belt. Take the following five tips into careful consideration before rolling out.

Assess Yourself

blog-motorcycle-road-tripAll pride aside, it is important to seriously evaluate your skill level on your bike. If you’re a new rider, have you gotten used to the weight? Can you withstand an hours-long ride and be comfortable? When choosing a route, assess your stamina in comparison to the length and terrain. If you’ve never been on winding roads or endured hills before on your motorcycle, take that into consideration. For the mileage alone, take practice rides to help you build up to a longer journey. In terms of your personal comfort level, don’t hesitate to invest in a windshield for your bike or a backrest if that is going to make your ride more enjoyable.

Prepare Your Bike

One of the worst things that can happen to you on a road trip is your motorcycle breaking down. The long route can put extra pressure on your tires and eat away at gas faster than you might be expecting. To avoid such a catastrophe as your tires going flat or being stranded with no fuel, perform the proper maintenance needs before you leave. Check your fluid levels, make sure the brakes are functioning properly and that the lights work before heading out. Map out where the gas stations are along your route so that after your initial fill-up, you know exactly how far you can go before needing to stop for more fuel.

Communication

Motorcyclists follow the same rules of the road as other motorists, but it is in your best interest to know the proper signals between riders and other drivers, especially in an unfamiliar place. On your trip, you could drive through an area that doesn’t see many motorcycles, so remember to use your signal light and hand motions to signify your turns. There are also communication signals used between bikers that you should know of, in the event that another rider needs to tell you something. A few common ones include pointing at the ground to signal an obstruction in the road, rubbing fingers together to warn of a slippery surface and flashing the brake lights to tell another rider to be prepared to stop.

Riding in a Group

It is important to be courteous to the riders in your group, especially if you are at different skill levels. Just as motor vehicle drivers are told, it is not safe to tailgate – the same goes for motorcyclists. Always keep a two-second cushion between yourself and the bike in front of you in case he or she has to stop abruptly. If you can, have everyone ride at the same pace so no one is left behind or feels pressured to speed up. At the end of the day, you are all enjoying a road trip together. The amount of time it takes to get to your destination shouldn’t matter! Don’t rush, but rather ride carefully and defensively within your group.

Unexpected Conditions

Depending on how far you’re traveling, the weather could change on a dime. The morning could be bright and sunny, but the late afternoon can suddenly turn into a monsoon of rain showers. To be prepared for anything, it is best to have waterproof equipment and gear so that your bike and your body are protected. Also, be ready to adjust your riding habits as the weather changes. For example, you will have to decrease your speed to ensure traction between your tires and the road if sunshine becomes rain.

In the event of a motorcycle accident, trust Trantolo & Trantolo, as many of our lawyers have been riding for years. We ride, so we understand how tough the situation can be. Call any one of our Connecticut locations today to speak with one of our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys about your case.