Nearly every driver on the road knows what it is like to have to slam on the brakes when brake lights ahead are suddenly visible. However, an alarming number of those drivers will also know what it is like to file a police report of an accident, and a still staggering number will face serious injuries because they were riding on two wheels when it occurred.
Sudden stops are frequently the cause of motorcycle accidents in Saint Petersburg and around the country. All too often, the outcome is tragic, because a motorcycle provides little protection to the rider and the need for a hard brake can send a bike end-over-end.
In this country, it is estimated that a vehicle is rear-ended, on average, once every eight seconds. That means that there will be seven or eight sudden stop accidents in the next minute. Okay, so some might claim that being rear-ended is a preferred form of accident. After all, it is much better to suffer a fender bender than to suffer a high speed side impact or a roll over. Yet, repairing a car bumper can be costly, depending on the damage done, and the expense for a biker is often much, much greater.
Fortunately, there are ways that motorcycle riders can avoid these very dangerous crashes. In order to reduce the risk:
Stay Back and Allow Time The biggest mistake that a motorcycle rider can make is to become impatient. If you have somewhere to be, leave early and allow for traffic. That way you can ride at a comfortable speed, maintain safe following distances and avoid risky maneuvers. The faster you are going, the shorter the distance you will have to stop, which means that, on the highway, you need to keep significant space between you and the vehicle ahead of you. As an example, when traveling at sixty-five miles per hour, it will take the average bike more than 240 feet to come to a complete stop. The average passenger car is about sixteen feet in length, which means that it will take you fifteen car lengths to reach a complete stop! Remember, those figures are assuming good road conditions. Snow, ice, or rain can make a big impact as well.
Avoid Hard Braking You can’t always predict what the driver ahead of you will do, nor can you always clearly see the obstacles ahead. However, a sudden and hard break can send you flying, which means you are at significant risk of bodily injury. Instead, brake gently and maneuver the bike (away from oncoming traffic) to the side. Sudden stops or “panic stops” are one of the top causes of rear-end collisions. You should anticipate when you will need to slow down or stop and avoid sudden changes in speed. This includes slowing down before making a turn. Basically, if you give the driver behind you more notice of your stop, then he or she will have a greater opportunity to avoid a collision.
Watch Other Drivers Once leaving their St. Petersburg driveways, many drivers will be so accustomed to the route that they travel each day that they may fail to pay proper attention to what is happening around them. On a motorcycle, it is even more important that you are closely monitoring the vehicles around you. That means looking past the car ahead of you, to see what is happening further up the road. It also means noting when a car is following too closely behind. It may be necessary to move aside, allowing a person to pass or to fall back a bit to give other cars more time to react to a possible obstacle.
It has been estimated that approximately thirty percent of all accidents are rear-end collisions. They can’t always be prevented, so be sure that you contact a personal injury attorney for help collecting the compensation you need to cover medical- and repair expenses.