As a driver, it’s important to know that sharing the road is not only about being responsible for your actions but also ensuring that you’re doing your part to ensure the safety of others on the roadway. Motorcycles are smaller and more vulnerable on the road than cars, so taking extra care is essential.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2021 alone, over 500 motorcyclists died in a crash, and over 2,300 were severely injured. We have a few tips drivers should follow to safely share the road with motorcycles and reduce the risk of accidents.
Keep Your Distance
Motorcycles have a smaller profile than cars, which makes them difficult to see. So, it’s vital to maintain an adequate following distance from them. A safe distance to follow is about four seconds. This distance gives you enough time to avoid a collision if the motorcyclist makes an abrupt maneuver.
Use Your Mirrors
Before changing lanes or turning at an intersection, always check your mirrors. A motorcycle’s size makes it challenging to spot. Ensure that you check your mirrors twice before making any moves. Also, be cautious of blind spots, as the motorcyclist can easily be missed in those areas.
Assume Motorcyclists Are Near
As you drive, always be aware that motorcyclists could be near. Assume that they are, and be sure to look out for them. It’s crucial to remember that motorcyclists can quickly accelerate or stop, so be prepared to react in an emergency.
Be Mindful of Road Conditions
Motorcycles have less traction and stability than cars, so it’s essential to note the road conditions. Be cautious of wet or oily surfaces, potholes, or gravel on the road, as it can cause the motorcyclist to lose control.
Remember to Use Your Signals
A turn signal is a communication tool that lets other drivers know your intentions. It can help prevent accidents, especially when sharing the road with motorcycles. Signal early and gradually turn to indicate your preferences to the motorcyclist.
Distracted driving is a critical road issue today and can be particularly dangerous for motorcyclists. Texting or talking on the phone while behind the wheel significantly increases your risk of causing an accident with a motorcycle. Not only does this put the rider’s life in danger, but it also puts other drivers at risk. To ensure everyone’s safety, avoiding distractions such as texting and driving, using the GPS, eating or drinking, applying makeup, etc., is essential so you don’t hurt a motorcyclist.
Contact Your Agent
If you get into an accident with a motorcycle, it is important to contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Your insurance agent can provide guidance on what steps need to take to ensure that all parties involved are properly compensated for any damage or injury caused by the accident. Additionally, they can provide advice about filing a claim.
Sharing the road with motorcycles requires drivers to practice extra caution and care. By keeping a safe distance, using your mirrors, assuming motorcyclists are near, being mindful of road conditions, and using your signals, you can help prevent accidents and ensure the safety of everyone on the road. Remember, it’s not only about being responsible for yourself but being responsible for other drivers on the road too. Be a safe driver, and always put safety first.