Most of us prefer to ride during day hours and this is highly suggested too, but if you have ridden in the dark hour you will know there is no denying in saying that, “the Night ride is a different thrill in itself”. But if you are not experience rider for night or if you have to ride during dark hours here are a few tips I would like to Share with you all to make your ride safer.
1. DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT underestimate the sleep
If some how your daylight hours are gone and you are still on your Motorcycle speeding towards the destination please endure you are not feeling sleepy. We all may think that we can avoid the sleep or we can keep ourselves awake by some means or other(music, talking to ourselves, playing games in the mind), but No, a big no if you think you will be able to overcome the sleep.
If you are feeling sleepy but you are trying to tell yourself that you can still go on, Let me tell you there are times when your body is still functioning but your brain puts you in sleep, you may still feel that you are riding fully awake(or doing whatever you are doing) but you’re actually sleeping. This state is very dangerous for Riders because 1 sec can be fatal on the road. So here is what to do:
- Don’t be a hero, STOP and take power nap – this 10-15 minutes sleep can give a energetic boost to your senses.
- If you don’t feel like continuing even after power nap find an appropriate place to sleep. There are many small ‘Dhabas’ which offer cots to sleep, you will find mostly truck drivers stopping there to sleep, but these place are actually appropriate if you don’t want to spend money on a hotel/inn room.
- Chewing gum – Yep, it will keep you awake while you are bored on a long empty road. But don’t forget your body has a limit.
- Regularly stop for breaks – a cup of tee or coffee can do good to you if you are riding in night. So decide if you want to stop by hours or kilometers but take regular breaks.
2. Ensure proper visibility
Be it in terms of lights or clarity of your vision, you have to ensure you are able to clearly see. Due to darkness and limited focus of headlamp we can only see in front, that too up to a limited range. Here is what you can do:
- Install additional light which can flood the road with more light, but I suggest the angle should not be high so it may cause problem on single lane road for traffic coming from opposite side.
- Ensure your helmet wiser is clear and scratch free.
- take regular stops to clean your wiser.
- use night vision to reduce refraction of light and enhance vision in the dark.
- If your vision is blocking from oncoming light or the wiser condition is not good, try to stick to lane dividing strips, they will keep you on track.
3. Ensure the position and distance
By position I mean in which lane you are and by distance I mean the distance you are keeping from vehicle in front and while overtaking. I think The Breaking Distance is the most ignored concept by most of the riders. I want to put focus on it. The breaking distance should not be based on if you have working breaks or not, but on your response time and the momentum of your vehicle. You have to ensure you don’t have to apply immediate breaks with full pressure on breaks. If you are going fast then keep more distance if you are slow then keep less distance as simple as that. Ultimately what you need is reaction time to safeguard yourself from any unwanted possibility. Further more it also helps you to avoid potholes as well. This is not just for the night but for day as well.
P.S. there are many vehicles on roads which have no safety indications like reflector or tail lights, please always be on lookout for such vehicles. I always keep track of vehicle moving in front of me, it doesn’t just give me indication for early breaking but also for potholes possibilities.
4. Make yourself Visible
This is simple, more visible you are to other drivers/riders more chances they won’t hit you. some things you can ensure in this regards:
- Ensure your lights are working and bright enough to be seen from a good distance.
- Always wear reflector jacket and put reflector table at suitable paces on bike and on the back of helmet as well.
- Use proper indication before changing lane, entering a road or exiting a road. And of course don’t forget to turn off indicators(blinkers) or it might confuse other riders/drivers.
- Use dipper and horn while overtaking(specially in hilly areas).
- If you are stopping for some reason, turn on hazards, even if you are under a street lamp.
5. Prepare yourself for any situation:
Whenever I am on road I tell myself, “there are a lot of things which can go wrong”. You should also remind yourself that and prepare yourself before you go out being “Dark Knight”. Topmost reason for mentioning this is that, there are hardly any shops/workshops/puncture/repair shops open in dark hours, probably for Trucks but hardly for bikes. In such case a small fault can give you hard time. What to do in such cases ?
- Don’t panic, If you are out on the road enjoying the ride, you should know that, the hard times comes along with the bike. These are short, frustrating but teach you some great lessons of life.
- DIY(Do It Yourself) – try to arrange and attend some DIY sessions with either some service center or some known local mechanic. You should always know basic stuff about your motorcycle. Knowing about removing and fitting wheels, changing clutch and accelerator wire, checking and changing fuse etc are some of the basics you should know about.
- Keep someone informed – When you are on a journey alone or with your ride buddies, just make sure someone at home or somewhere is aware about your whereabouts, this is helpful in case you are stuck in situation where nobody is around to help you out.
- Always ensure connectivity. We are all addicted to smart phones, even we have got chargers on our bikes to keep them alive. But don’t be too sure on anything. Keep a small phone with basic feature of calling, good long battery life handy in case your smartphone leaves you hanging.
Folks, These are probably most important points I wanted to share about Night Riding. Further more I can say, “One can never be too careful on the road”, so when you go out please wear proper safety equipment an ride with a discipline.