Riding a motorcycle is a fun and freeing form of transportation, but with that freedom comes risk. Motorcycle accidents are surprisingly common, and often not at the mercy of the rider. Visibility to other drivers, road hazards, weather and driver error all factor in to the hazards of riding a motorcycle. Check out the Top 5 ways to prevent a motorcycle accident so you can stay safe on the road and avoid a costly, or even deadly, accident.
- Proceed with Caution: Left-Hand Turns
Left-hand turns account for over 40% of all motorcycle crashes, and are some of the deadliest, yet preventable motorcycle accidents. The accidents occur when a vehicle turns into the cyclist at an intersection, often cutting off the cyclist and hitting them head-on, or when a cyclist turns left into a vehicle as it continues through the intersection. Look ahead and watch out for gaps in traffic. This often indicates a car is preparing to turn, and may not see you. To avoid incident, make your intentions to turn clear to other drivers, and stay aware of oncoming traffic. Use hand signals if necessary.
- Pretend You’re Invisible
Though it may seem unusual, one of the best ways to avoid a motorcycle accident is to behave as if other motorists cannot see you. Acting as if you are invisible prevents you from getting too comfortable on the road, therefore helping you better navigate potential incidents with other vehicles. It is easy for other drivers to miss a motorcycle in their blind spots, so avoid riding in these zones. Riding in a blind spot of a car or truck that switches lanes can be fatal. A rule of thumb to avoid blind spots is to make sure you can see the mirrors of the car in front of you—this assures you are in their line of site as well. For added visibility, wear reflective safety gear and always use your headlight, whether it is daytime or night.
- Watch Out for Distracted Drivers
Texting and driving is a deadly practice amongst car drivers that poses an even greater risk to motorcyclists. The slightest unintentional swerve or lane change by a distracted driver can be deadly for a motorcyclist. Stay alert by watching the wheels of the car in front of you. Oftentimes, this can give a heads-up of unplanned swerving, turning or drifting into the next lane, avoiding a costly collision. Do not ride near vehicles with a distracted driver when possible.
- Be Aware of Roadway Hazards
Hazards on the road pose a serious threat to motorcyclists. Tree limbs, gravel, glass and other debris can require you to swerve or cause your bike to waver, resulting in loss of control of the motorcycle. Driving at appropriate speeds can help you retain your balance if unavoidable hazards block the roadway.
- Expect the Unexpected
It may be easy to relax and enjoy the ride, but getting too comfortable on the road can lead to careless accidents. Motorcyclists must be prepared for sudden stops, debris in the road, and quick maneuvers around other vehicles at any time. All accidents are unforeseen, so being aware of your surroundings is crucial for your safety.
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