The rising temperatures and reduced precipitation mean two things: convertible owners are taking their cars out of the garage and from under covers, and motorcycle riders are riding more frequently.
Like slick roads during the winter months and snow in northern states, the advent of bikes and "hogs" on the road requires a new diligence that can be difficult for drivers who are used to their daily commute.
"When you are in a car or truck you also have to be aware they are out there, not follow too closely and watch that blind spot when you change lanes," Matt Waterkotte, of the local Harley-Davidson, told the Mt. Vernon Register-News.
Since motorcycles often travel two to a lane, or in a staggered fashion, this can be difficult for drivers who are used to more space between them and other vehicles on highways. The size can also be problematic, especially late at night with the reduced number of lights on most bikes.
One option is to consider a driving school that offers refresher courses on driving. They can provide distance diagrams and other helpful information about the difference in operating a car around motorcycles versus trucks and more common vehicles on the road.
The warmer weather also offers an opportunity to check your car out before subjecting it to driving with the build-up of the winter past. If you live in an area that was frequently salted, for example, going to the car wash and paying special attention to the brakes and underside of the car can remove grime that has built up and can affect handling and gas mileage.
Another issue that could affect visibility of smaller classic cars and motorcycles that often fill the roads on summer days are checking on wipers and windshield washing fluid. In many locations, drivers may use their wipers more in the winter than they do in the summer, so they may have become brittle or worn down and should be replaced. Owners should also check their windshield washer reservoirs that may have been depleted during the winter.
If you haven't taken a online defensive driving course
lately, you may not realize the importance of car care in terms of remaining a safe driver. However, with the summer months comes new tactics to effectively see other motorists.
One is to understand that while only a minority of motorcycle riders engage in unsafe practices, they can have disastrous consequences for car drivers. One example is the occasional practice of riding in between lanes. Since bikes are more maneuverable than cars, this can sometimes happen during stop-and-go traffic. Drivers will want to make special efforts to avoid hanging out into a shoulder or venturing outside their lane.
Similarly, motorcycles can accelerate more quickly than other vehicles. Proper signaling at turns, merges and other areas can help motorists from causing or contributing to a dangerous collision that could lead to disastrous results, especially for the driver.