You have started for your destination and suddenly experience heavy traffic on the road. Time is running out, and you can’t afford to be late. This critical situation will test the strength of your nerves. Keep cool, be cautious, and avoid moving into narrow spaces between heavy vehicles. Negotiate the traffic at a steady pace while keeping your eyes and ears open for picking up vital clues for escaping the snarl-up.
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This article will help you with tips to facilitate safe riding in heavy traffic.
10 Important Tips for Riding Safely in Heavy Traffic
Your bike will be surrounded by numerous vehicles in heavy traffic. Most drivers would be running out of patience and honking horns endlessly. The heat and dust will make the wait more tedious. These, along with other factors, can expose you to unsafe conditions. Don’t worry! You can sail out smoothly from this traffic mess by following the tips discussed below.
1. Be Attentive at All Costs
Being watchful is the mantra for riding safely in heavy traffic. Steer clear of distractions and always stay focused. You must pay attention to certain things mentioned below to avoid threats to life.
|Things to watch out for||Potential threats|
|Oil spillage from vehicles||The bike can skid uncontrollably, causing you to get off balance and fall.|
|Presence of vehicles ahead, behind, and beside you||An abrupt move by any vehicle closer to you, particularly heavy ones, can make your bike get hit with varying impact forces.|
|Mobile phone rings or music played through earphones|
If your phone is not on silent, you may get distracted by sudden calls or messages popping up.
Music can muffle the ambience sounds, preventing you from hearing the horn signals from other vehicles.
|Pedestrian movement||Someone may step in front of your bike when you start moving; your bike can hit the person. As per the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, a third-party bike insurance policy is compulsory.|
|Traffic light||The green signal may make the still traffic move hastily, and a vehicle can hit your bike from the back if you have not drifted ahead.|
|Overloaded vehicles||Material may slide off suddenly at high speed.|
Look straight and avoid switching lanes. Always stay closer to bikes. If you are waiting beside a heavy vehicle whose driver can’t’ spot you in the mirror, an untoward incident may occur.
2. Maintain a Buffer Space with Other Vehicles
Maintaining a buffer zone in traffic is advisable to stay at a safe distance from other vehicles near you. In heavy traffic, leaving a significant buffer will make other vehicles move into the space. How to maintain a buffer, then?
- Keep shifting the lane position of your bike constantly.
- Move carefully between vehicles to get ahead of them.
This will compel other drivers to take note of your presence. They will avoid getting too close to your bike, and you don’t have to worry about unexpected moves.
3. Stay Aware of the Road Surface
You cannot rest assured that the road surface will be free of contamination and other obstacles. Keep a keen eye on the surface while stuck in traffic.
Things that should ring an alarm bell include:
- Presence of potholes, undulations, and broken patches along the road.
- Clay, sand, gravel or wet soil that can cause violent skidding.
- Oil or lubricant spillage.
- Tram tracks or other embedded steel structures along the road.
4. Keep Checking Advancing Traffic from the Rear through Your Mirror
You may frequently look back over your shoulder to check if a vehicle is accelerating. But never rely on the accuracy of your gaze as new-generation vehicles can pick up speed in no time.
Check the rear-view mirror to stay aware of sudden rear-side traffic movement in real-time.
5. Put the Bike on Low Gear
When the traffic moves at a snail’s pace, keeping your bike in low gear is preferable. The bike becomes tough to handle at a high gear for small forward or sideways movements. Applying brakes at a moment’s notice becomes easier in low gear.
6. Use Indicators for Switching Lanes or Overtaking
Whenever you decide to switch lanes or move ahead of other vehicles in heavy traffic, use appropriate indicators. This will allow other drivers to take note of your bike. Else, there is a possibility of collision with tailgating vehicles as predicting your sudden movements is impossible for others.
7. Equip Yourself with Protective Gear
God forbid, you meet with an accident in heavy traffic. This can happen even if you observe traffic rules as other drivers make hasty decisions due to growing impatience. To protect yourself from such incidents, wear protective gear that must include:
- A sturdy helmet that can withstand severe impact.
- Boots that can comfortably deflect impact due to grazing with other vehicles.
- Safety gloves.
- Riding jacket.
8. Keep Maintaining Your Bike
Heavy traffic tests the roadworthiness of your bike. If you fail to service it regularly, the motorcycle may not respond well to your quick commands on congested roads.
Maintain your bike well, particularly the tyres, brakes, suspension, taillight, horn, and indicators.
9. Beep Your Bike’s Horn Occasionally
Your bike’s exhaust may be making lots of noise, but vehicle drivers ahead of you may fail to notice your presence in heavy traffic. Most four-wheeler drivers have their windows tightly sealed with air-conditioning and music on at full volume. Keep beeping the horn to make them aware of you. This will particularly help when you have to accelerate past them.
10. Know Your Route Properly
You must take a quick look at any map app to learn about by-lanes or arterial roads that can help you escape the traffic. Also, keep an eye on traffic patterns and the lanes where congestion occurs frequently.
Getting caught up in heavy traffic can be a nightmarish experience if you are unaware of how to safely ride in such conditions. The tips discussed here will help you steer clear of heavy traffic without inviting any incident.
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