You have always said that biking is much more active than driving a car. You can feel the bumps in the road, you use your whole body to steer, and you’re fully engaged with the task at hand. So when you see a driver texting or talking on his cellphone, you roll your eyes, knowing that he is putting everyone around him (including you) at risk. But is that really all you can do to prevent a distracted driving accident?
How to Prevent a Distracted Driving Motorcycle Crash
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has designated April as National Distracted Driving Month in order to raise awareness of the dangers of distraction. Even if the biker is not the one who is distracted, he is far from powerless when it comes to bringing a driver’s eyes back to the road—and he has plenty of experience making himself more visible to other road users.
Here are a few things that can help keep bikers safe on a road full of distracted drivers:
- Opt for fewer lanes. The more lanes of traffic there are, the greater the chance of a distracted driver approaching you from every angle. Avoid highways with multiple lanes, and take extra care if you must travel on a multi-lane freeway.
- Stay to the right. You probably know firsthand how slippery the center of a lane can become. The sides of the lanes provide better grip, but the right of the lane is far safer in case you have to stop quickly or avoid an oncoming obstacle.
- Turn it on. It’s not enough to have a single headlight running at night. Your bike should be equipped with high-beams, taillights, and even an extra light or two. You can always turn them off for daylight riding—and it’s better to have them and not need them than find yourself in the dark.
- Brighten up. Being seen is your greatest defense against distracted drivers. Whenever you ride, wear clothing that increases your visibility: bright colors, reflective jackets, and anything that will draw a driver’s eye toward you.
- Beware the intersection. A bike t-boning a car is a classic motorcycle accident scenario, although it is almost always the fault of the car’s driver. Whenever you approach a four-way intersection, always assume that stopped drivers and those turning across your path don’t see you.
- Look for a response. If you suspect that a driver is distracted and cannot move away from him, flash your headlight or tap your brakes and wait for a response. Even just looking up and meeting your eyes is enough to restore his attention to the road.
You can help your fellow bikers stay safe from distracted drivers by sharing this article on Facebook, or by reading through a free copy of our book, The KC Biker Bible.