As autumn slowly turns to winter, you may be enjoying your motorcycle more than you did during the hot summer months. After all, feeling cool desert breezes on your face as you explore Nevada is tough to beat. Still, you want to stay safe every time you climb behind the handlebars of your favorite bike.

In the first half of 2019, motorcycle fatalities in the Silver State were 9% higher than the same period in 2018. To keep riders safe, Nevada law requires all motorcyclists to wear a helmet. While your existing one may keep you from receiving a costly citation, it may not offer the best protection for your head, neck and face. Here are three situations when replacing your old helmet makes sense.

  1. No safety rating 

Not all riding helmets offer the same level of protection. If your existing headgear does not have a safety rating, you cannot trust it to protect you during a collision, crash or slide. Instead, look for a helmet that has the U.S. Department of Transportation’s stamp of approval. 

  1. Old age 

Helmets do not last forever. On the contrary, internal and external components degrade over time. Accordingly, you should read your helmet’s user’s manual to determine when you need to order a replacement. Generally, though, helmets have an effective lifespan of about five years. 

  1. Impact damage 

Your helmet serves as a buffer zone between your head and the pavement or another hard object only one time. That is, if you hit your head when wearing your helmet, you should buy a replacement before your next ride. Furthermore, even if you just drop your headgear, you probably should not rely on it to protect your head from injury. 

You do not want to leave your personal safety to chance. By swapping your old, damaged or ineffective helmet for a better one, you increase your odds of arriving at your destination without sustaining a serious head injury.