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Speed Management

Placeholder Georgia Other Regulations

Handling Dangerous Surfaces

  • Slippery surfaces
  • Railroad tracks
  • Grooves and gratings

Slippery Surfaces

On slippery surfaces, you should use added caution. Motorcycles handle better when ridden on surfaces with good traction. Maintaining balance and cycle control are difficult on slippery surfaces.

To reduce your risk, you can take certain preventative measures:

  • Reduce Speed – Slow down before you get to a slippery surface to lessen your chances of skidding and increase your following distance. Your motorcycle needs more distance to stop. And, it is particularly important to reduce speed before entering wet curves.
  • Avoid Sudden Moves – Any sudden changes in speed or direction can cause a skid. Be as smooth as possible when you speed up, shift gears, turn or brake.
  • Use Both Brakes – The front brake is still effective, even on a slippery surface. Squeeze the brake lever gradually to avoid locking the front wheel. Remember, apply gentle pressure on the rear brake.

Surfaces that provide poor traction include:

  • Wet surfaces – Particularly, just after it starts to rain and before surface oil washes to the side of the road. When it starts to rain, ride in the tire tracks left by cars and avoid pooled water and highway ruts. Often, the left tire track will be the best position, depending on traffic and other road conditions as well.
  • Ice or snow covered surfaces – Snow melts faster on some sections of a road than on others. Patches of ice can occur in low or shaded areas and on bridges and overpasses. It is recommended you avoid snow and ice covered surfaces.
  • Shiny surfaces – Metal covers, steel plates, bridge gratings, train tracks, lane markings, leaves and wood can be very treacherous when wet.
  • Dirt and gravel – On curves and ramps leading to and from highways, dirt and gravel can collect along the sides of the road. Choose a lane position that minimizes the risk of injury.
  • Oil spots – Watch for these when you put your foot down to stop or park. You may slip and fall. Securing the proper footing will help you from losing your balance or falling.

Railroad Tracks, Trolley Tracks and Pavement Seams

Usually, it is safer to ride straight within your lane to cross tracks. Turning to take tracks at a 90 degree angle can be more dangerous – your path may carry you into another lane of traffic.

For track and road seams that run parallel to your course, move far enough away from tracks, ruts, or pavement seams to cross at an angle of at least 45. Then, make a quick, sharp turn. Edging across could catch your tires and throw you off balance.

Railroad Crossings

  • Trains and motorcycles don’t mix. Never race a train to the crossing — even if you tie, you lose.
  • The train you see is closer and faster moving than you think. If you see a train approaching, wait for it to go by before you proceed across the tracks.
  • Be aware that trains cannot stop quickly. Even if the locomotive engineer sees you, a freight train moving at 55 miles per hour can take a mile or more to stop once the emergency brakes are applied. That’s 18 football fields!
  • Never drive around lowered gates — it’s illegal and deadly. If you suspect a signal is malfunctioning, call the 1-800 number posted on or near the crossing signal or your local law enforcement agency.
  • Do not get trapped on the tracks; proceed through a highway-rail grade crossing only if you are sure you can completely clear the crossing without stopping. Remember, the train is three feet wider than the tracks on both sides.
  • If your vehicle ever stalls on a track with a train coming, dismount immediately and move quickly away from the tracks in the direction from which the train is coming. If you run in the same direction the train is traveling, when the train hits your vehicle you could be injured by flying debris. Call your local law enforcement agency for assistance.
  • At a multiple track crossing waiting for a train to pass, watch out for a second train on the other tracks, approaching from either direction.
  • When you need to cross train tracks, go to a designated crossing, look both ways, and cross the tracks quickly, without stopping. Remember, it isn’t safe to stop closer than 15 feet from a rail.
  • ALWAYS EXPECT A TRAIN! Freight trains do not follow set schedules.
  • Trains may be prohibited from sounding their horn at crossings. Check the railroad track visually in both directions before crossing.

to report stalled

vehicle on tracks or

other emergency

call 1-800-555-5555

and refer to

crossing #123-1234

on cherry street

An Emergency Notification Sign (ENS), posted at or near a highway-rail grade crossing, lists a telephone number along with the crossing’s US DOT number and is used to notify the railroad of an emergency or warning device malfunction.

Grooves and Gratings

Riding over rain grooves or bridge gratings may cause your motorcycle to weave. Maintain a steady speed and ride straight across. Crossing at an angle forces riders to zigzag to stay in the lane.

Test Your Knowledge

1. The greatest potential for conflict between you and other traffic is:

A. On the expressway.

B. At intersections.

C. When riding in a group.

2. Usually a good way to handle tailgaters is to:

A. Change lanes and let them pass or slow down to allow for more space ahead.

B. Speed up to put distance between you and the tailgater.

C. Ignore them.

3. When it starts to rain it is usually best to:

A. Ride in the center of the lane.

B. Ride on the right side of the lane.

C. Ride in the tire tracks left by cars.

4. The best way to help others see your motorcycle is to:

A. Keep the headlight on.

B. Use eye contact.

C. Honk your horn.

1. B – Intersections,
2. A – Space Management, Being Followed,
3. C – Slippery Surfaces,
4. A – Increasing Conspicuity