With summer already upon us, many more people will be taking pleasure trips on the road. That’s certainly true of motorcyclists, since they typically enjoy taking bike rides when the weather heats up. Although Motorcycle Awareness Month, which takes place in May, is already over, it’s still important to reflect on how those of us driving cars can safely share the road with others enjoying trips on their two-wheel bikes.
Something you need to be more aware of when driving your vehicle in the warmer weather is checking your blind spot. When you are ready to change lanes or even if you’re just trying to merge with traffic, you should be checking your blind spot at least two or three times before moving. Why? According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, around 40 percent of the standard vehicle is made up of blind spots. When you factor in the fact that motorcyclists are always more difficult to see while out on the road because they are far smaller than the usual car, then you’ll understand why you should be checking that blind spot two or three times.
Keep Your Distance
Another thing you need to do when the weather is warm and you’ll be expecting to see more motorcyclists on the roadways is make sure you’re giving them plenty of room if you are behind them. Motorcycles can stop much more quickly than your usual car, which sometimes throws drivers off. Make sure you apply a three-second following rule when behind a motorcycle so that you have all the time necessary to stop your car. Also, don’t forget that motorcyclists often change their speed or lane position to dodge dangers when driving, like grooved pavement and potholes. Last, when motorcyclists brake slow, their brake lights don’t always come on and that’s another important thing to keep in mind.
If you didn’t already know this, motorcycle turn signals don’t cancel themselves. So, if you’re stopped near a motorcycle with a flashing signal, ensure that the bike is turning before you continue forward. Just like regular vehicle drivers often do, sometimes motorcyclists forget to switch off their signal. Not yielding the right of way when driving near a motorcycle is the number one reason many motorcyclists suffer fatal multi-vehicle accidents.
So, remember, whenever you’re merging with traffic or changing a lane, use your turn signal so that both motorcyclists and other drivers around you know where you are going. Furthermore, anytime you drive, whether around motorcyclists or not, make sure you drive sober and put down your cell phone. Driving distracted often results in fatal traffic accidents. Prior to driving, get your cell phone ready in its hands-free mode, and have any necessary GPS points set up before you leave. If you frequently listen to music, make sure you also have your tunes set up before you hit the roadway, too.
As for motorcyclists, you also have the responsibility to ride sober and make sure you stay away from any distractions, like cell phones. To make your rides more safe, make sure you put on very visible, reflective motorcycle gear. However, even when you make yourself more visible, don’t assume other drivers can always see you well.