Almost 37,000 people die every year due to road accidents in the United States. That means almost 37,000 families are scarred for life.

This may sound clichéd but road safety is a two way street. Its the job of every driver to not only ensure their own safety, but the safety of everyone else on the road - that’s twice the responsibility.

 If someone drives recklessly - uses cell phone or changes lanes without signaling - they could be the reason behind a fatality - it could be their own, or someone else’s.

 Statistically majority of these accidents involve cars and motorcycles, and its not surprising that motorcycle riders come off worse in these collisions.

 

Here are 5 steps you as a - car/bus/SUV/truck - driver can take to ensure you avoid accidents with motorcycles.

 1) - Be aware of your blind spots

You can easily lose motorcycles in your blind spots (doors or roof pillars). So if you look in the rear view or side mirrors, you won’t be able to see them. Take extra care when changing lanes to ensure you don’t suddenly cut across a motorcycle’s path.

 Tip – Make use of all of your mirrors

 

2) - Signal Responsibly

Signaling responsibly is extremely important. Knowing every vehicle has blind spots, give the riders behind you plenty of time to observe you. Make sure you turn on your signal at least a few seconds before turning or changing lanes. This will ensure riders behind you have ample time to respond and adjust.

 Tip - Avoid turning immediately after signaling.

 

3) - Maintain a safe distance behind motorcycles

Motorcyclists have the option to slow down by braking or easing on the throttle. If they roll off the throttle, the brake lights won’t flash, so there’s no way to know if the motorcycle ahead is slowing down or not. Keeping this in mind, try to maintain the car rule length even for motorcycles, so you have ample time to break in case they slow down suddenly.

For those who are unaware, here is a refresher on the car rule length.

For every 10 mph of speed the following distance should be one car length.

At 20 mph, following distance would be two car lengths.

And at 60 mph, it should be six car lengths.

 Tip - Also, assume that as motorcycles reach intersections or crossings, they may slow down, so adjust your speed accordingly.

 

4) – Turn Carefully

According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, in 2013, 44% of 2 vehicle accidents resulted in a fatality for motorcyclists. This was when the car was taking a left turn and the motorcycle was going straight. Intersections can be tricky as most car drivers only look once in either direction before turning. The rule drivers must follow here is, look to your left, then right and then left again before turning. This sequence must be followed without exception when at an intersection or a roundabout.

 Tip – Most motorcycles don’t have self canceling signals as cars do. Keep this in mind as there is a possibility the motorcyclist forgot to cancel their signal after taking a turn. The best course of action here would be to proceed with caution.

 

5) – Avoid Littering

For motorcyclists, a small pebble or a stone can spell disaster. This is the reason why motorcyclists sometimes use the entire width of their lane to avoid debris and oil spillage. As a responsible motorist, littering should be avoided at all costs. Even though a gum wrapper, in your opinion, may not constitute as a hazard, motorcyclists instinctively make an effort to avoid any and all objects on the road. This makes their life considerably difficult.

 Tip – Regularly take your vehicle for a tune up. Make sure you are not spilling any oil or anti freeze on the road.

 

How Motorcyclists Can Help Themselves?

It is a given that motorcycle riders need to adhere to the same rules as car drivers. In addition, there are a couple of things motorcyclists can do to make it to their destination safe and sound.

 

Safety Gear

Safety gear could literally be the difference between life and death for motorcycle riders. It includes several essential items such as a helmet, body jacket, pants, boots and gloves. For more protection riders can use other items like knee pads and visors etc, but the items mentioned above are the absolute necessities.

 Here are a couple of pointers to keep in mind when buying motorcycle gear:

  • Motorcycle gear needs to match the type of riding you do

  • Your gear should complement the climate and weather you ride in

  • Your boot selection should be based on three things - sole, material and comfort

  • Invest in leather, it won’t let you down

  • Select a retailer that sells CE approved high quality motorcycle gear

 

It is important to get your gear from recognized retailers who specialize in motorcycle safety gear. Under par equipment won’t do the rider any favors during a crash, so its better to spend more and ensure that you have done all you can to protect yourself. Maximo Moto offers state of the art safety equipment for riders. You can find everything from jackets to gloves on their website.