Summer is in full swing in South Dakota, and with the warm weather comes the roar of your motorcycle. But as you get out of the house to enjoy the open road, you may want to take a moment to remember the basics of safety on two wheels.

According to the South Dakota Department of Public Safety (SDDPS), motorcycle accidents make up 17.6% of all traffic deaths in the state. But only 7.6% of vehicles on the road are bikes. Before starting the engine, riders may want to consider a few safety tips provided by SDDPS.

Wear a helmet

You’ve heard it before. One of the most significant risks you face in a motorcycle accident is traumatic brain injury from hitting the road. A helmet significantly decreases that risk by protecting your head from the solid pavement.

Safety gear protects the skin

If another car forces you to lay your bike down, there won’t be anything between you and the road. Wearing leather or similar clothing can put a layer between you and solid tar. Boots also keep your feet safe, reducing the risk of broken limbs or road rash.

Drive defensively

When you are around other vehicles, they may not see you in their blind spots. Try to keep some distance to ensure they don’t cut you off or swerve into you.

Don’t drink and drive

When you’re behind the wheel of any vehicle, alcohol impairs your ability to think quickly and stay focused. If you are around larger vehicles and are unable to notice a sudden change in traffic movement, you may find yourself at risk of serious injury.

Other drivers can be a risk

Summer days seem handmade for hitting the open road on two wheels. But other drivers and road conditions can still put you in danger of severe accidents. While you cannot control the actions of other drivers on the road, remembering and practicing basic motorcycle safety may help you reduce your risk of a crash.