How can drivers improve motorcycle safety?

With warmer weather and Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month here, it is important to make sure that these vulnerable road users stay safe. This is especially critical because motorcyclists still make up an inordinate number of fatalities from crashes across the nation.

As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) notes, most motorcycle crashes involving another vehicle are not the motorcyclist’s fault. Other motorists play an important part in motorcycle safety as well.

3 things motorists should do to safely share the road

Every road user is responsible for operating his or her vehicle safely on Tennessee roads. But, it is also up to motorcyclists to ride safely.

However, if you or a loved one rides a motorcycle, you know just how vulnerable they are on the roads. No matter what vehicle you drive, it can help if motorists:

  1. Actively see motorcyclists: This may sound obvious, but many motorists experience inattentional blindness when it comes to motorcycles. It is a phenomenon in which drivers look in the direction of, but may not actually see or perceive motorcyclists. This often occurs because drivers look for larger or similar-sized objects on the road – such as semi-trucks or other cars. Motorists should be aware of this phenomenon and make it a point to look out for motorcyclists, especially when turning at intersections or merging onto the highway.
  2. Increase following distance: Doing this can actually help increase safety for all road users. A larger following distance behind vehicles allows you more time to react. You cannot control other drivers who may invade that space, but you can work to maintain safe following distances. Most sources agree that three seconds worth of following distance is the minimum for safety.
  3. Always stay aware: Every time you get behind the wheel, you should make sure you are prepared to drive defensively. Avoiding drowsy driving, drunk driving, and any distractions can be the key to keeping you and other road users safe. This is the first step for every motorist.

It can take a while to form habits. However, actively working to increase your own awareness and safe driving skills can help keep you, your loved ones, and other road users safer this May – and all of the months after that.

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