Motor vehicle accidents are some of the most common causes of severe injury in the U.S.
Every day, 3,287 people die as a result of car crashes, and even more suffer life-changing injuries. While car accidents are incredibly dangerous and terrifying, motorcycle accidents cause even more severe injuries and on average, are more deadly. Per vehicle mile traveled, a motorcyclist is 35 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than someone traveling in a passenger vehicle.
Cars give people far more protection than a motorcycle. Besides a helmet and thick, durable clothing, motorcyclists have little protection. They are at the mercy of the elements and how much they and fellow drivers are paying attention to the roadways. But there is nothing quite as exhilarating and freeing as driving or riding on a motorcycle. Despite the dangers, most people who take a trip on a bike will get to their destination unscathed. But if you’ve had the misfortune of being injured in a motorcycle accident, you need to contact an experienced attorney ASAP to get the compensation you deserve. Below, we’ll cover the three most common causes of motorcycle accidents and how you can avoid them.
1. Unsafe Lane Changes
Unsafe lane changes are a common cause of car and motorcycle crashes. A motorcycle is much smaller than a passenger vehicle, and it’s far too easy for a motorcyclist to find themselves in a car or truck’s blind spot. Vehicles who fail to check their blind spots or signal when changing lanes risk injuring or killing a motorcyclist.
The best way to avoid this type of accident is to do your best to avoid getting caught in another driver’s blind spot. Do your best to quickly and safely get out of a vehicle’s blind spot if you find yourself in one. You should also take precautions to remain as visible to other drivers as possible.
- Wear reflective gear
- Keep a safe distance from other cars, so you have plenty of time to react to other vehicle’s changing lanes, slowing down, or stopping.
- Drive slightly ahead of a vehicle so they can clearly see you
- Signal and check for oncoming traffic when you pass another car
2. Getting Hit with a Car Door
Drivers will often forget to check their mirrors when they are exciting their vehicle after parking on the street. Unfortunately, they can open the car door on a passing motorcyclist, severely injuring or killing them.
How can you avoid this type of accident?
Don’t ride between an inactive traffic lane and parked cars. Not only do you risk crashing into an opening door, but you can easily hit a pedestrian or a car that’s trying to exit a parking spot. Brake as hard as you possibly can if you do find yourself heading for this type of crash. Slowing down even a fraction before an inevitable impact can save your life.
3. A Car Turns Left in Front of You
Drivers can fail to see you or judge your speed accurately at an intersection and turn left right in front of you. Studies have shown that this is a common motorcycle accident on account of psychology. A driver looks for cars at an intersection when turning. They will perceive the absence of vehicles, and unfortunately, not the presence of a motorcycle. It’s crucial that you know how to avoid such a common accident.
Driving a motorcycle requires you to pay even closer attention to the road and listen to your gut instinct than when you drive a car or truck. When you’re on the road, learn to look for and recognize the signs of someone about to turn left in front of you.
- A car is at an intersection, waiting to turn
- There is a gap in traffic close to an intersection, driveway, or a parking lot
In these situations, slow down, cover your brakes, and be prepared to take defensive or evasive action. Don’t forget to account for objects beyond your field of vision. Usually, a gap in traffic indicates that someone is about to come through that gap even if you can’t see them yet.
Once you know what kind of threat you are dealing with, you need to assess the level of the threat’s severity.
- Can the driver see you without obstruction from landmarks, trees or plants, signs, or their window pillars?
- Is the driver looking at you?
- How fast are they going, and how is their vehicle situated?
Take a close look at which way their wheels are pointing. The direction their wheels are pointed will tell you more than the way their car is situated.
Be aware of what’s behind you and also beside you. If you’re forced to take evasive action, you need to be mindful of which way you can go to avoid a collision. Even if you can avoid crashing into a car that’s turning, it won’t help if you get hit from behind. Also, keep in mind the road conditions so you know if the conditions can handle the full force of the brakes or if the brakes will lock.
Whatever you do, don’t lay the bike down. You need to keep the bike upright and use both brakes to shed as much speed pre-collision as possible. Any reduction in speed is your best bet for surviving a crash. Even a reduction as small as ten mph can be the difference between a trip to the hospital or a trip to the morgue.
Riding a motorcycle is exciting, and cars can’t even hold a candle to that type of freedom.
Even though it’s a bit riskier to drive a bike than travel via passenger vehicle, you can still have a safe trip. If you practice safe, evasive driving techniques and stay out of driver’s blind spots, you can enjoy the freedom of a motorcycle without experiencing the pain of a crash.
But despite our best efforts, sometimes accidents happen. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact an experienced attorney today. They’ll be able to help you settle your medical bills and get you the compensation you deserve.