Sure, we all know that you need to wear your helmet and the right safety gear on your bike in case of an accident. And we all know that bikers are more vulnerable because there is nothing between them and the pavement in an accident. But let’s talk a little bit about how to prevent that accident from happening in the first place.
Defensive driving is defined as “the practice of using driving strategies that minimize risk and help avoid accidents, as by predicting hazards on the road” by dictionary.com. It’s essential for any driver, but especially for motorcycle riders. Other drivers in cars and trucks may not be as aware of motorcycles as they should be and may not see bikers. And, of course, that’s in addition to the other potential hazards posed by other drivers. They can always be drunk, distracted, impaired, or just plain bad drivers. The more you can look out for them, the less likely they are to hit you.
Your goal as a driver, especially as a biker, should be as much awareness as possible at all times. Obviously, you should never ride drunk, buzzed, or stoned. But you also need to make sure you have had enough sleep and that you aren’t distracted by anything that will take your attention away from the road. If you are sleepy or even just upset about something, it may be a time when a cab or an Uber is a better choice.
Assuming you are in the right state to be behind your handlebars, you should be looking around all the time. Your eyes should not stop moving as you check your mirrors, look for pockets of open space where you won’t be surrounded by cars, scan ahead for hazards, and keep tabs on other drivers.
Act with Confidence
A hesitant driver is generally not a safe driver. Indecisiveness makes it hard for other drivers to predict what you will do, and if they can’t predict you, they may not be able to avoid you. Confidence is important. Planning your route ahead of time by checking out the map may help you know where you are going and how you will get there, preventing false starts and sudden stops. Even with audio navigation, it is still worth planning ahead to ensure a smooth ride. And if you are not sure about your directions, and don’t know which way to turn, turn with confidence all the same. It’s better to take a wrong turn safely than the correct turn in a way that will confuse other drivers and increase the potential for an accident. You can always pull over and figure it out down the road.
Don’t be Aggro
If an uncertain driver is not a safe driver, an aggressive driver is definitely an unsafe one. If you want to get competitive, find a racetrack. The roads and streets are places to cooperate, not contend. Road rage is not worth the risks. If you need it, take an anger management class, meditate, or find some other techniques to keep you calm and focused on the road.
If it Does Happen…
Sometimes all the defensive driving in the world isn’t enough to keep you safe. If you are in an accident, and you’ve done everything right, consider calling to speak with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to make sure you get the resources you need to get back on your feet.