How to share the road safely with motorcycles

As spring approaches, many Tennessee drivers look forward to hitting the open road on their motorcycles. Along with the newfound freedom they enjoy, they also face additional risks from drivers who are not used to sharing the road with motorcyclists. According to the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security, the rate of fatalities from motorcycle accidents has increased since 1998, and 134 people were killed in 2017 alone. The Tennessee Highway Safety Office estimates there were 357 crashes involving motorcycles in 2017.

A large part of keeping motorcyclists safe on the road is teaching truck and car drivers how to safely watch for them. Drivers can follow a few simple rules to help avoiding accidents with motorcyclists. First, they can abide by the 4-second rule, which requires drivers to stay at least 4 seconds behind a motorcycle. This provides a cushion for reaction if the unexpected occurs.

Second, drivers should always look before they turn. Drivers should try to make eye contact with a motorcycle rider before turning toward them at an intersection and drive cautiously whenever passing or driving next to a motorcycle with a persistent turn signal.

Third, drivers can watch for motorcycles and other vehicles by checking the blind spot often. It is easy for motorcycles to slip into a driver’s blind spot without any notice. If a motorcycle is attempting to pass a driver, they may hover in the blind spot for a few seconds, so drivers should always turn their heads and check before changing lanes.

Finally, drivers should allow motorcycles the time and space to swerve in their lanes. They may be doing so to avoid potholes or other debris in the road which can lead to a fatal accident if hit by a motorcyclist.

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