In the past few weeks, much of the country has seen triple digit temperatures. This extreme heat is more than just uncomfortable – it is dangerous for many reasons.
Motorcycle riders are especially susceptible to these heat dangers, including heat exhaustion, dehydration and severe sunburn. But there are a few simple steps they can take to help reduce your risk.
Here are 5 tips compiled by MotorEagles to help you stay safe while you ride your bike this summer.
1) Keep yourself covered. While it may seem like wearing a T-shirt and shorts is keeping your body cool, it actually is interfering with your body’s internal cooling system. Heat combined with the wind you encounter while riding can evaporate your sweat almost immediately. If you stay covered up, your sweat will accumulate enough to actually do its job and cool you off. You want your skin to be covered with some kind of material that lets just enough air move through it to be comfortable.
2) Drink a ton of water. In intense heat, you can sweat up to four quarts in an hour. That water has to come from somewhere. If you’re going to be riding in the heat, you need to drink more water than you think you need to.
Symptoms of dehydration include:
- Increased thirst
- Dry mouth and swollen tongue
- Palpitations (feeling that the heart is jumping or pounding)
- Sluggishness, even fainting
- Inability to sweat
- Decreased urine output (Urine color may indicate dehydration. If urine is concentrated and deeply yellow or amber, you may be dehydrated.)
3) Avoid riding during the hottest part of the day. Ride in the mornings or in the evenings. This can help you avoid heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Heat exhaustion symptoms include nausea, headaches, excessive thirst, muscle aches and cramps, weakness, confusion or anxiety, drenching sweats, often accompanied by cold, clammy skin, slowed or weakened heartbeat, dizziness, fainting and agitation. It requires immediate attention but is not usually life-threatening. Heat stroke symptoms include nausea and vomiting, headache, dizziness or vertigo, fatigue, hot flushed and dry skin, rapid heart rate, decreased sweating, shortness of breath, decreased urination, increased body temperature (104 degrees or higher), confusion, delirium or loss of consciousness, or convulsions. Heat stroke can occur suddenly and there may not be any symptoms of heat exhaustion. It can be life threatening.
4) Use your head. If you decide to ride in the high heat, listen to your body. If you feel a little woozy or maybe just a little “off”, do yourself a favor and pull over somewhere. Try to cool down by getting off the hot motorcycle and finding a shady spot, an air conditioned store or gas station and just chill out.
5) Protect yourself. Wear a helmet and protective clothing that has vents that can be opened for air flow. A small brim on the helmet helps shade your face from the sun, and a sweat band helps to avoid the sweat running into your eyes. Wear scratch free, clean, UVA protective sunglasses to protect your sight, and improve your vision on hot sunny days. If you have any exposed skin, be sure to use appropriate sunscreen.
Don’t let your favorite pastime turn into a health danger. Take these precautions so you can enjoy yourself on the open road this summer.