Riding a motorcycle is exhilarating, but it also puts you at risk for serious injuries if involved in a collision. In 2017, according to the Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety, 5,172 motorcyclists died in accidents.

One way to protect your safety when you ride your motorcycle is to always wear a helmet. Although the Arizona Department of Public Safety states that you only have to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle if you are under the age of 18, there are many reasons why you should make helmet wearing a priority when you ride.

Reasons to wear a helmet

You can sustain many types of injuries in a motorcycle accident, but some of the most concerning are those involving your head and brain. Even a relatively minor bump to your head in an accident can cause a concussion or a mild brain injury. Wearing a helmet can reduce your risk of suffering a head injury during a collision.

In addition to protecting your safety, wearing a helmet can prevent eye, teeth and face injuries while you ride. Your helmet provides protection from any debris that flies into your face from the road, like loose dirt, gravel and rocks. The helmet you wear also helps you see and hear better by blocking interference from the sun and wind, so you can focus on the road without environmental distractions.

How to choose the right helmet

The right helmet can provide optimal protection when you ride your motorcycle. Choose a full-face helmet that provides full coverage over your face and neck.

You should also look for a shell-built design when you buy a new helmet. This shell is your first line of defense if your head ever directly contacts the road in a crash. Consider picking a new helmet if the one you have lacks a shell with a thermoplastic or reinforced polycarbonate shell.