As any avid rider knows, riding in extreme heat is intense. Certain precautions should be taken to avoid serious health risks such as sunburn, dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
The following safety tips for riding in extreme heat are recommended by RoadRUNNER Magazine:
Cover-up: It may seem like riding in shorts and a tank top would be a sensible way of staying cool in hot weather, but it isn’t. Besides the considerably elevated risk of severe injury in the event of an accident, the hot wind wicks moisture from the under clad rider’s body at an accelerated pace with little—if any—evaporative cooling benefit. As mentioned earlier, uncovered riders also are highly susceptible to severe sunburn.
Stay Hydrated: While riding in a hot dry climate, your body will need to consume at least a gallon of water each day to replace lost fluids. If you’re riding off-road and exerting a great deal in the process, then a much higher consumption of water will be needed. Carry a water bladder on your back and sip small amounts from it frequently while riding. This is one time when it’s OK, actually much more than OK, to drink and ride.
Avoid Diuretics: Caffeinated drinks can produce an unquenchable thirst and act as a diuretic, increasing urine production and the loss of bodily fluids. So avoid any drink, or any other substance, that produces a diuretic effect on your body.
Replace Electrolytes: As riders sweat they’re losing both water and other chemicals, which are critical to keeping muscles and the nervous system operating normally. Consequently, it’s important to replace your body’s electrolytes (potassium, chloride and sodium) with fruit, juices or sports type drinks to maintain effective brain and neuromuscular functions. But avoid those drinks, which also contain high levels of caffeine.
Start Early, Stop Early: One of my favorite strategies for avoiding extreme heat is to begin riding very early in the morning, before the intense heat builds up, and then call it quits by early to midafternoon. By beginning your ride at sunup, it’s amazing how much better you feel and the distance that can be covered by noon.
Cool Down: If your body is suffering from being too hot, then it’s simple logic that cooling it down will help mitigate any heat related symptoms. Making frequent stops for cool drinks in an air-conditioned environment is an effective strategy for keeping body temperature under control. One of the best strategies for achieving a rapid cool down is immersion in water in the form of a cool stream, a shower, a bath or just being dowsed with a bucket of cold water.
Get Medical Help: Once a rider has progressed to, or near, heatstroke, getting medical assistance becomes critical. If in doubt about the seriousness of a rider’s heat related illness, call 911, because it’s always better to be safe now, than sorry later.
As always, safety is first. The bottom line is when the temperature reaches triple digits, try to keep as much of your skin covered as possible and to drink fluids at every gas stop while cooling in the shade or inside the store. Unfortunately, accidents do occur and bikers must be prepared. Contact Karney Law Firm, a NC motorcycle accident lawyer.