As summer gets underway, more people are outdoors enjoying the sunshine and many of them are driving motorcycles. While it’s important for motorcyclists to follow the rules of the road to stay safe, it is equally imperative that those of us driving larger, enclosed vehicles do our part to stay alert and minimize danger for our friends on two wheels.
Do your part to avoid causing a motorcycle accident by following these simple and easy-to-implement driving tips:
- Give motorcyclists space! It’s not always easy to judge how fast a motorcycle is traveling or when a bike will need to brake suddenly, which means it’s important to give yourself additional reaction time by providing additional clearance between your vehicle and the motorcycle in front of you. Rear-ending a standard sized vehicle can cause plenty of damage on its own. Tailgating or driving too close to a motorcycle is far more dangerous and can be deadly to the motorcyclist. Backing off a few additional feet will greatly reduce the likelihood of a collision resulting in serious injury or death.
- Look before you change lanes. This should be a habit regardless of motorcycle safety, but it is particularly important to double check blind spots where motorcyclists may be otherwise invisible. Be sure to look over your shoulder, not just in the sideview or rearview mirrors, before changing lanes to avoid causing a motorcycle accident.
- Approach intersections with caution. About one-third of motorcycle accidents occur within roadway intersections, according to the NHTSA. Drivers routinely fail to see motorcyclists as they approach a left-hand turn or neglect to slow down as a motorcyclist is doing the same. These kinds of accidents are often very serious and sometimes fatal, which makes it even more important to slow down and take a second, or even third, look at your surroundings.
- Enlist your passengers to help spot motorcyclists. It’s important to keep your eyes out for motorcyclists at all times so you can adjust your driving behavior accordingly. Having two sets of eyes instead of one makes doing so easier. Remind your passengers to alert you when they spot a motorcyclist near your vehicle to avoid a dangerous outcome!
- Adjust your mirrors to reduce blind spots. Blind spots often cause drivers to overlook smaller vehicles when checking their rear and sideview mirrors. Adjusting your mirrors to maximize visibility and reduce blind spots can make a big difference in keeping motorcyclists and yourself safe. Keep blind spot monitoring safety features turned on as an extra precaution.
- Don’t drive while distracted. This seems like a given, but many people still ignore warnings about distracted driving to their own and others’ peril. Avoid distractions by putting your cell phone in the glove compartment of your vehicle. It is also important to familiarize yourself with your dashboard and its functionality. Grappling for the heat knob while making a left turn and talking on the phone can be a danger to everyone on the road, especially motorcycles!
Now that you’ve had a chance to brush up on driver awareness and safety tips, don’t be afraid to go out and enjoy the sunny summer days! Just be sure to stay alert and aware of the many motorcycles that share our roads.
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a motorcycle accident and need the assistance of a personal injury attorney, contact Lowe Eklund Wakefield for a free legal consultation. We are here to help.