Wondering how to handle motorcycles on the road? We can help!
Drivers often worry when they see a motorcycle ahead of them. It is not unusual to be concerned that there is a major risk of accidents. Indeed, motorcycles can move fast and maneuver in unexpected ways compared to other vehicles.
There are obvious risks to riding a motorcycle. Motorcyclists depend to a great extent on their crash helmet if they are struck. Severe injury and death are more likely for motorcyclists than most other motorists.
Mississippi, Texas, South Carolina, Hawaii, North Carolina, and Florida are considered the most dangerous states for motorcycle owners, while Montana is the safest state. Of all states, California has the most motorcycles on the road, with more than 822,000.
While there are plenty of lists of motorcycle safety tips for drivers out there, most of them focus on the motorcyclists themselves. But as it turns out, the drivers of cars, trucks, and other four-wheeled vehicles could use more information, too!
The more you know about the motorcyclists you share the road with, the better!
Understanding the Real Risks of a Motorcycle Accident as a Car Driver
Yes, motorcycle riders shoulder some risk when they are out on the road. But that risk also extends to the motorists around them. If you are in an accident with a motorcycle, you could end up paying thousands of dollars to cover the cost of the motorcyclist’s injuries.
Since a traffic accident resulting in injury will raise your car insurance rates much more than a minor accident, that can also cost you thousands of dollars over the three, five, or seven years that auto insurance providers will take each accident into account.
It is important to remember, however, that most motorcyclists are careful and conscientious drivers.
Any list of motorcycle safety tips for drivers should start with this note: The median age of motorcycle riders in the United States is now 50, meaning half are younger and half are older. This is up from 47 back in 2017.
With that in mind, the majority of motorcycle riders you encounter in any state will have many years of experience. Just as you drive defensively, they also use safety best practices to avoid perilous situations.
What about the stereotype of the motorcycle gang? Out of an estimated 12.2 million motorcycles in use in 2018, only a minuscule fraction are used by criminals or criminal groups. In fact, about 9% of all American households have at least one motorcycle.
That’s right: The number of Americans with motorcycles is about the same as those who own pet fish. And it’s substantially more than the number of people who own pet birds. Plus, nearly 20% of all motorcycle owners are female, an amount that has climbed in recent years.
Motorcyclists are hobbyists like anyone else. Show them the same respect you would any other driver and you will help everyone stay out of danger. Of course, there are some special motorcycle safety tips to know, too.
Motorcycle Safety Tips for Drivers: How to Share the Road More Easily with Everyone
1. Be Alert to Your Blind Spots
Because motorcycles are so much smaller than cars, they can be difficult to see when you are turning or switching lanes. Don’t rely exclusively on your mirrors, especially when it is time to turn. Always do a visual check, reducing the risk of an accidental collision, and commit once you are sure the coast is clear. Remember, even when motorcycles are following all the rules, they can seem to “sneak up” on you.
2. Reduce Your Speed When You See a Motorcycle
All in all, it is a good idea to be aware of your speed when motorcycles are present. This is especially true if you are directly behind a motorcycle. Motorcycles can surprise unprepared drivers because they are much more maneuverable than cars are. At the same time, they are also more sensitive to changes on the road. Try not to “box in” or limit a motorcyclist’s options for reacting to traffic if you can avoid doing so.
3. Leave Enough Room Between You and the Motorcycle
You probably heard this during your road test way back when you first qualified for a driver’s license: “Don’t tailgate!” It’s still true today, and it goes double if you happen to have a motorcycle in front of you. This takes the form of the “two second rule” in most driving situations. That usually translates to about one vehicle length for every 10 MPH of speed. Leave more space if there’s rain or fog or if you are driving at night.
4. Be Careful to Always Use Your Turn Signals
Let’s face it – most motorists forget to use their turn signals every now and then. In some states, engaging your turn signal actually creates a legal obligation to others to “help” you turn, so it is even more vital than it looks. Motorcyclists pay particular attention to the turn signals of cars, trucks, and SUVs around them. Your turn signal should go on about 100 feet prior to reaching an intersection, 900 feet during highway driving.
5. Dim Your Headlights
High beams can blind motorcyclists, so be careful when you use them. If you are passing a motorcycle rider at night or during low visibility situations like rain or fog, temporarily lower your lights. Even two seconds of disorientation can lead to an accident under these conditions. You can turn on your high beam again as soon as you have passed – in fact, some states require you to do so whenever visibility is restricted.
6. Exercise Caution When Taking Left Turns
Left turns are notoriously hazardous. They are responsible for so many accidents that delivery drivers at some companies are required to avoid making left turns no matter what. A poorly executed left turn is even more serious for motorcyclists, who run the risk of being side-swiped. A left turn will expose you to activity in your blind spot, so be sure to visually check the traffic situation and engage your turn signal promptly.
7. Obey All Traffic Rules and Signs
Motorcyclists need to do all the planning and calculating that other drivers do, but make sure it is done in a fraction of the time. Take the extra few seconds to follow all road traffic signs and signals scrupulously when you’re on the road with a motorcycle. It means the driver spends less time predicting what you will do.
Even the Best Motorcycle Safety Tips Are No Good Without Insurance
With these motorcycle safety tips, you’ll be much more likely to avoid trouble on the road! But there’s one piece of advice that holds true for car safety tips, truck safety tips, and motorcycle safety tips for drivers alike: Be sure you have the right motorcycle insurance!
A minor accident turns into a big hassle if you don’t have enough car insurance. You could lose your license and registration or even face jail time. With Cheap Insurance, you’ll save money on car insurance by comparing the best auto insurance quotes online. It’s all done in minutes!
Get started now or reach out to our team to learn more.