Bikers need to be aware of all potential hazards on the road. That’s because the consequences of a minor collision on a motorcycle can be much more severe than in a car. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcycle riders are 4 times more likely to suffer injuries and 28 times more likely to die in a collision than people in passenger vehicles.
Many motorcycle fatalities occur when drivers fail to check their blind spots for motorcycle riders. If drivers don’t check before changing lanes, they may cause serious injury to motorcyclists riding alongside their vehicle.
As a rider, you can minimize your risk of a blind spot accident by anticipating errors from other drivers and practicing safe motorcycle riding habits. If you’re involved in a motorcycle accident that wasn’t your fault, contact our experienced Myrtle Beach motorcycle accident attorneys to recover the compensation you’re owed.
Where Are Blind Spots?
Vehicle windows and mirrors are carefully designed and positioned to maximize the driver’s field of vision. In 2018, the federal government began requiring vehicles to have rear cameras and sensors to help with parking and lane changing. Despite these measures, all vehicles still have blind spots that the driver can’t see through their mirrors or while in a forward-facing position.
These blind spots are usually along the side of the vehicle, just outside the driver’s line of sight. In large SUVs and trucks, blind spots can extend beyond the vehicle’s rear. The bigger the vehicle, the larger the blind spot.
Before lane changing or adjusting their road position, responsible drivers should check their blind spots for motorcyclists or other vehicles. However, many drivers fail to thoroughly assess their blind spots before moving, making it necessary for motorcycle riders to act carefully when approaching a vehicle’s blind spot.
Blind Spots on Cars
Motorcyclists should avoid spending more time than necessary in a vehicle’s blind spot. When trailing a standard passenger car, like a sedan or hatchback, the main areas to avoid are directly alongside the vehicle or just to the rear of the vehicle while in the adjacent lane.
Blind Spots on Big Trucks
A semi-truck or 18-wheeler has two large blind spots along either side of the vehicle, a continuous blind spot surrounding the cab, and another at the immediate rear. If possible, motorcycle riders should stay clear of the side of a semi-truck; however, if you must overtake a commercial truck, ensure you use safe passing procedures.
When trailing a semi, a motorcyclist should maintain distance, keeping at least one of the truck’s side mirrors in view at all times. If you can’t see the driver in their side mirror, they likely can’t see you, so maneuver into a position that maximizes your visibility.
How to Pass Vehicles Safely
Visibility is crucial for motorcyclists when performing certain maneuvers, like overtaking. The first step for safe passing is to signal early and move into the left-hand lane before entering the driver’s blind spot. Next, pass through the blind spot quickly but safely, without delay.
After clearing the blind spots, continue moving forward to create at least two car lengths of distance between yourself and the other vehicle before merging back into their lane. Avoid reducing your speed to maintain a safe gap. Lane splitting or snaking is illegal in South Carolina, so do not attempt this maneuver when overtaking another vehicle.
Other Tips to Increase Visibility
Increasing your visibility to other motorists can help you stay safe and prevent injuries from collisions. You can increase your visibility to other drivers by:
- Wearing high-visibility safety gear (jacket, helmet, and gloves)
- Placing reflective tape on your clothing, motorcycle wheels, side panels, and front suspension
- Riding with your lights on, even in the daytime
- Installing auxiliary lights on the front and rear of the bike
Seek Counsel from a South Carolina Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Despite practicing safe driving habits and taking additional precautions, you may suffer injuries due to the actions of a careless driver. If a negligent motorist harms you in a motorcycle collision, contact the skilled attorneys at Joye Law Firm as soon as possible.
Injured riders often face an unfair bias after an accident, bearing the brunt of the blame from law enforcement, insurance adjusters, and juries when filing a lawsuit. At Joye Law Firm, we help motorcyclists overcome these challenges and know how to build a strong, evidence-based claim for our clients. Work with our attorneys to ensure you receive fair treatment during the claims process.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to learn your legal options and protect your right to fair compensation.