Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: NorthCentral Florida
"White-Out" visibility conditions
After years of driving vehicles, a couple years back while driving through busy Atlanta freeways I experienced visibility conditions approaching "0" late one afternoon. The freeway was hot and an unexpected heavy rain shower suddenly hit. The resulting road steam, road spray from other vehicles, and the sun's rays turned the world nearly a solid white. The only choice was to closely tail the vehicle ahead which I could just barely make out, and hope for the best.
And that was in a newer vehicle with excellent windshield wipers!
The other day, late one afternoon, the same thing happened near Alexandria, Louisiana. Only this time I was on my motorcycle. Six lanes of heavy traffic and I'm on the inside lane of all places. Same scenario, "0" visibility, and the windshield is blocking any wind that is necessary to scatter the accumulation on my face-shield. Traffic is doing between 60 - 70 mph and there's simply no choice but to closely tail the vehicle ahead because those tail lights are the only thing visible, and just barely at that. Thank the man above that those tail lights were lit. And don't tell me you can raise your visor and depend on your eyes. The rain hitting your eyeballs will quickly have you shutting your eyelids. It just can't be done at those speeds. Moving my head to the side to catch some wind on my face-shield helped a little and thankfully, the view behind in the rear-view mirrors was better. At the first opportunity I worked my bike over to the outside lane, no small feat in itself, and stopped under the nearest overpass.
That's probably the most vulnerable I've ever felt on a motorcycle and it was one scary experience. One I hope to never repeat.
How to avoid? Well, I'm not quite sure. First of all, a windshield blocks any wind necessary to scatter the raindrops on a face-shield. That's almost acceptable if visibility is fairly good, but add in "white-out" conditions and the recipe is not good.
I've heard on this forum that Rain-X should not be used on plastic materials, but there has to be something that will help if caught in extreme conditions. So if any of you veteran riders have any advice it sure would be welcome.