May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and is a safety campaign created by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The campaign’s mission is to remind drivers and motorcyclists about safe riding practices and to help motorists to understand standard motorcycle driving behaviors to prevent motorcycle traffic crashes. In 2019 alone there were 5,014 motorcyclists killed in traffic crashes. These deaths as described by the NHTSA accounted for 14% of the total highway fatalities that year. To help bring awareness to motorcycle safety we have highlighted 8 motorist safety tips from the NHTSA below:
TIPS FOR MOTORISTS
1. If you are turning at an intersection and your view of oncoming traffic is partially obstructed, wait until you can see around the obstruction, sufficiently scan for all roadway users (pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists alike), and proceed with caution. Slow your decision-making process down at intersections.
2. One’s reaction time and ability to assess and respond to a potential collision, such as a lane change, is significantly hindered if there are large differences in speed among vehicles in traffic. When approaching a congested roadway, being diligent in modifying your speed to match that of the cars in traffic can be a lifesaver, particularly for motorcyclists.
3. Allow a motorcyclist a full lane width. Though it may seem as if there is enough room in a single lane for a motor vehicle and a motorcycle, looks can be deceiving. Share the road, but not the lane: A motorcyclist needs room to maneuver safely.
4. Because motorcycles are smaller than most vehicles, they can be difficult to see. Their size can also cause other drivers to misjudge their speed and distance.
5. Size also counts against motorcycles when it comes to blind spots. Motorcyclists can be easily hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot. Always look for motorcycles by checking your mirrors and blind spots before switching to another lane of traffic.
6. Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic. This allows motorcyclists to anticipate your movement and find a safe lane position.
7. Do not be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle — it may not be self-canceling, and the motorcyclist may have forgotten to turn it off. Wait to be sure the rider is going to turn before you proceed.
8. Allow more follow distance — three or four seconds — when following a motorcycle; this gives the motorcycle rider more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency. Motorcycle riders may suddenly need to change speed or adjust their lane position to avoid hazards such as potholes, gravel, wet or slippery surfaces, pavement seams, railroad crossings, and grooved pavement.
NHTSA also highly recommends for motorcyclists to wear a DOT- compliant helmet with a “FMVSS No. 218 Certified” label and use reflective tape and gear to be more visible. In 2017 helmets save 1,872 motorcyclist lives according to estimates found by the NHTSA. Additional lives of 749 people could have been saved if helmets were worn by all motorcyclists. Learn more about choosing the right motorcycle helmet that is safe and DOT-compliant: https://www.nhtsa.gov/motorcycle-safety/choose-right-motorcycle-helmet.
In addition to motorcycle safety, make sure you and your motorcycle are protected on and off the road. Motorcycle insurance should include essential coverages like liability, comprehensive and collision coverage. There are also specific coverages for special touches to your motorcycle such as motorcycle gear, safety apparel, custom paint, chrome and saddlebags and more. Contact Paroubek Insurance today and learn more about motorcycle insurance and what coverages you need to protect you when riding on the road.