The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has designated May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. We all know that motorcyclists lack the protection and safety features that occupants of other motor vehicles have, and this makes them inherently more at risk of serious injury when they are involved in an accident. In fact, according to the NHTSA, motorcyclists are actually 27 times more likely to die in a crash than other motorists.
As part of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, we want to highlight one of the factors that plays a primary role in many motorcycle accidents; failure of motorists to see motorcycles that enters their blind spot. Because motorcyclists have a smaller profile, it is very easy for drivers of other vehicles not to notice them in their blind spots, especially if they are not paying proper attention.
Some of the newer vehicles are coming equipped with blind spot monitors, which should help reduce the number of blind spot motorcycle accidents that occur in the future. That said, most vehicles on the road today do not yet have these monitors, so motorists need to be extra cautious to prevent a blind spot accident.
Here are some steps motorists should take to avoid blind spot motorcycle accidents:
- Adjust your mirrors properly: Your mirrors should be positioned so that the size of your blind spot is minimized. Make sure your rearview mirror completely frames your back window, so you can see all of it and point your sideview mirrors toward your blind spot.
- Always signal your intentions: Drivers often make last-minute decisions to change lanes, so they do not miss a turn or for other reasons. Unfortunately, it is easy to get in the habit of making these lane changes without signaling. This could be a deadly mistake if there is a motorcycle or another vehicle in your blind spot. Be sure to always signal when you are changing lanes or making a turn, even if it is at the last minute. This will help warn anyone who may be in your blind spot to honk to get our attention and/or get out of the way.
- Look over your shoulder before changing lanes: Even if your mirrors are properly adjusted, you might still have missed a motorcycle or vehicle that snuck into your blind spot. To be absolutely certain that you are clear to change lanes or make a turn, get into the habit of manually looking over your shoulder in the direction which you are turning.
- Stay free of distractions: In today’s electronic age, distracted driving is a growing problem that is contributing to an increasing number of motorcycle accidents. Refrain from texting while driving or any other smartphone activity while behind the wheel. If you have to make a phone call, put the phone in “hands-free” mode. Far too many unnecessary accidents are the result of distracted driving, and it’s just not worth the risk.
There are also some things motorcyclists can do to help prevent blind spot accidents:
- Give other vehicles adequate space: These days, bikers need to ride defensively and give other vehicles enough space to make turns and complete lane changes. One good rule of thumb is to stay about 20 feet away from other vehicles, so you have enough time to react appropriately when they make last-minute moves.
- Spend minimal time in other vehicles’ blind spots: There are certainly times when it is unavoidable to enter the blind spot of another vehicle, such as when you are passing them up or they are passing you up. But aside from that, do not stay in their blind spot for any length of time.
- Stay visible: When you are out riding, make it a point to wear clothing that is brightly-colored, fluorescent, or otherwise easy to see. Also be sure to keep your headlights on, even when you are riding during daylight hours.
Injured in a Blind Spot Motorcycle Accident in Alabama? Speak with a Seasoned Personal Injury Lawyer
We hope everyone follows these safety practices to avoid blind spot accidents and stay safe this spring and summer. We know, however, that sometimes even when you follow all the rules, you may still end up in an accident. If this occurs, be sure to get in contact with a skilled accident injury lawyer. Insurance companies are known for playing games and using various tactics to diminish the value of an injury claim or even deny the claim altogether. For this reason, it is important to get an attorney involved as early as possible in the process, so your right to recover compensation can be protected.
At M. Adam Jones and Associates, we have extensive experience successfully representing motorcycle accident injury victims in Alabama, and we fight hard to help ensure that our clients recover the full and fair compensation they need and deserve. Call us today at 334-581-9238 or send us a message through our online web form to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.