5 Defensive Driving Strategies to Avoid a Motorcycle Accident

Riding a motorcycle is an expression of freedom. But while it is a freedom, at the same time it is a responsibility. You owe yourself, your neighbors on the road, and your bike the responsibility while driving on the road. While responsibility includes keeping yourself safe and your bike maintained, defensive driving strategies begin with the basics. To avoid a motorcycle accident, defensive driving strategies can mean anything from wearing proper headgear to knowing how to react to various situations on the road. With the following tips, you will be able to assert yourself on the road to freedom.

1.) Keep Your Own Perception Aware

When driving in any vehicle, the primary controller of the car or motorcycle is yourself. Your perception determines the quality of your time on the road and can mean the difference between a safe drive to your destination or a dent in your vehicle, or worse. As you already know, a motorcycle is more vulnerable in an accident than a heavier car, so the quality of the perception of its driver is of top importance.

Alcohol can be one of the ways that any drivers’ perception is drastically lowered in quality. Drinking and driving is a practice that can prove fatal to those driving in vehicles; driving impaired on a motorcycle is almost a death sentence. Understand that while your own limit may be three beers, the limit of perception on the road is barely on drink. Any intoxication is intoxication.

Medication can make you drowsy, which can cause deadly circumstances. When taking new medication, always discuss with your doctor the possible side effects that may affect your driving, and always read the labels of your medication or vitamins. When beginning any new medication or vitamin regimen, be sure to understand every aspect of exactly what it will do to you personally. Protecting yourself and your perception is the first way to defend yourself on the road.

2.) Adhere to the Rules of the Road and Then Some

Defensive driving is safe driving, and driving safely begins with yourself and continues with adherence to the rules of the road. Aside from the basics of the stop signs and yielding turns, taking extra precautions can go far and can save your life. Defend yourself with precautions, not assumptions. Do not assume that other drivers will see you. Motorcycles are substantially smaller than all other vehicles, and are thus susceptible to being in the blind spots of their neighbors. As you do this, avoid driving in the blind spots of those around you. Assumptions are also dangerous at intersections. Do not assume that other drivers will give you the right of way, even when you do have the right of way.

Traffic lanes are also deserving of extra cautionary attention. When riding in a lane, be sure to avoid riding in the center. By adhering to the side, you allow for extra room in the event of aggressive or impatient drivers to pass you.

Florida has specific regulations in regards to splitting and sharing lanes. In Florida, splitting, or riding between lanes, is illegal with the exceptions of police officers and firefighters. While sharing a lane is legal in our state, it is illegal to pass a vehicle in the same lane.

3.) Defense Other Than Defensive Driving

While defensive driving usually entails the proper maneuvering of your vehicle or motorcycle in various roadway situations, sometimes the “defense” in defensive driving should be taken literally. Wearing the proper safety gear now can protect you not only against the weather, but possible accidents on the road as well. When protecting yourself with safety gear, do so from the head, down. Start with a helmet that fits all regulations. Always wear it, even for the shortest trip. Never taken any chances with your safety. Wear proper eye and face protection that can protect against rain, especially during Florida’s rainy season. Optional safety gear includes vests and armor. Wear gloves that give you a good and safe grip with every grab of the handlebars. Choose shoes that you can trust when leaning while stopped. Increase your visibility with brightly colored gear or reflective tape.

Defend yourself while taking turns as well. At any possible opportunity when turning at an intersection, position yourself so you are shielded by a car turning the same direction as you. You can always switch lanes after. When on the road, any protection is good protection.

4.) Be Aware of Your Environment

Defensive driving also includes the quality of the environment you drive in. Florida, known for its sunny days and rainy seasons, is home to many afternoons of wet and slippery roads. Knowing how to drive in various environments can help you avoid accidents.

Floridian roads can become covered with nearby beach sands, oil spills, wet leaves, or watery puddles. Avoid driving on roads that are blanketed with sand, wet leaves, or oil. Any one of these things can become a danger to the traction of your tires. If possible, avoid driving right after rain. Rain makes roads slippery, which can throw your bike out of control. Plan ahead accordingly in case of bad weather before a ride.

The condition of the road is also something to watch for. Defensive driving is not just about defending yourself about other drivers, but also the road you’re driving on as well. Avoid roadway debris such as old rubber from tires or glass from a previous accident. Avoid construction sites; nails are more hazardous to motorcycles than to cars.

In any weather, be sure to pay attention to the traffic around you. Is anyone swaying or swerving? How close is everyone else in proximity to you? Are there bicycles, animals, or children in the area? How close are you driving to your neighbors? These are all questions to be asking yourself every time you get on your motorcycle, or any vehicle in general.

5.) Your Motorcycle is an Extension of Yourself On the Road

Just as you should keep your own perception aware while on the road, your motorcycle should be in top shape as well. Better quality means a safer riding experience, and there are plenty of ways to ensure that your motorcycle rides with the best quality. Every time you ride, be sure to increase visibility by riding with your lights on, at any time of day or night. You want people to see you and your awesome ride!

When taking turns, be careful. Many accidents that involve motorcycles happen on curves and turns. Know how your bike handles on the roads in your riding area, and figure in its weight while you prepare to turn. The handling of your motorcycle also includes maintenance. Maintain your bike on a regular basis and turn safety checks into a routine.

While on the road, and highways in particular, keep in mind that the safest lane is to the far left. Driving on the far right lane can make you vulnerable to the cars merging onto the highway.

Every time you drive on the road, be cautious, but be assertive as well. Self-doubt while on the road can lead to hazardous results. Make all driving decisions with confidence.

Final Thoughts

By adhering to these defensive driving strategies, you will feel much safer, as you will be doing your part to keep the road safe. There are two halves involved in driving: your own driving and the driving of everyone else around you. While you can’t control the driving of those around you, you do have control over aspects about your personal half of the road: the maintenance of your bike, your own safety gear, and your awareness. When all of these aspects are fused together, your riding experience can be fun, safe, and freeing.

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