Motorcycle accidents are more common than you may think – in fact, they’re responsible for more deaths than any other type of vehicle on the road in the United States.
Motorcycles account for only 3 percent of the vehicles on the road, yet they make up 16 percent of all traffic fatalities and 17 percent of all traffic injuries, according to NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).
Many different factors play into these statistics, but with better education about these contributing factors in motorcycle accidents in the US, you can help reduce your risk and make riding a motorcycle safer overall. Here are the 5 most common causes of motorcycle accidents in the US and how you can avoid them.
Speed is one of the leading causes of motorcycle accidents and is, therefore, a major contributor to motorcycle fatalities. In fact, according to studies from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding increases a driver’s chances of being killed or injured in an accident by 400 percent.
If you are driving a motorcycle, this statistic should be even more worrisome as motorcycles cannot be slowed down as quickly as cars can. Driving too fast for conditions will also increase your chance of crashing due to limited visibility and reduced braking time.
If you are riding a motorcycle and see that traffic has slowed because of a curve or other obstruction ahead, it is best not to attempt to pass those vehicles and slow down before entering the obstacle area. Also, wearing a full-body safety kit while riding your bike can help save you from speeding injuries.
2. Car drivers changing lanes without seeing you
Car drivers changing lanes without looking or seeing you is one of the leading causes of motorcycle accidents. This is because drivers often don’t see a motorcycle, especially when it’s dark outside.
To avoid this happening, make sure you are visible on the road by wearing bright clothes and using your headlight at night. If a driver doesn’t see you and changes lanes, be sure to sound your horn as soon as possible so that they know what’s happening.
3. Road hazards like potholes or debris
One of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents is a pothole or some other type of road hazard. The best way to avoid this kind of accident is by knowing what type of road you’re on and staying aware as you ride.
You can also avoid potholes by making sure you are avoiding roads that are not well maintained. If you have any doubt about your route, take an alternate route or just drive a car instead.
Driving at night increases your risk of a motorcycle accident because it’s harder for other drivers to see your motorcycle when headlights are off and there’s not much light out.
After a long day at work, it’s tempting to drive home and fall into bed. The problem is that driving your bike while fatigued is just as dangerous as driving while drunk. Fatigue slows your reaction time, decreases your concentration, and limits your ability to make decisions.
This can lead to slower driving speeds, weaving between lanes, or even falling asleep at the handle. If you’re going on a long ride or are taking a break during a short ride, get off the road and take a nap before getting back on. It’s always better for safety if you avoid fatigue on the motorcycle.
5. Alcohol Use
Alcohol is one of the leading causes of accidents on motorcycles. Alcohol impairs motor skills and judgment, which can lead to a variety of different risks while riding.
It’s important to be aware that even if you’ve consumed a small amount it could impair your judgment enough so that you would need more time and distance than normal for stopping your bike.
The best way to avoid an accident related to alcohol use is not drinking and driving; however, if you are going out with friends and plan on drinking, don’t get on your bike if you have had more than two drinks over two hours.
These are some of the major reasons for motorcycle accidents and you can follow the above tips to avoid them and such accidents while you take your motorcycle out on the road from now on.