Just about every vehicle has blind spots. These are areas around a vehicle where the driver cannot see, and they can lead to severe motorcycle accidents in the event drivers on the roadway are not mindful of them. To be clear, drivers need to be aware of their own blind spots as well as the blind spots of other drivers around them. Here, we want to discuss the dangers associated with blind spots when it comes to motorcycle safety. The reality is that motorcyclists face a higher risk of sustaining severe injuries or a fatality in the event a collision occurs, and knowledge of blind spots can go a long way towards helping ensure roadway safety.
How to Check for Blind Spots as a Motorcyclist?
Blind spots are areas around a vehicle that the driver cannot see using their mirrors. Because drivers do not have a direct line of sight in the blind spot area, they will be unable to detect any hazards within the space unless they physically turn their head and look. The larger the vehicle, the larger the blind spots.
Unfortunately, motorcycles often fit entirely into a driver’s blind spots. If you are riding a motorcycle, there are steps you can take to help ensure that you do not end up riding directly in another driver’s blind spot.
- Try not to ride directly beside other vehicles. Blind spots for most vehicles are along both sides. When operating around larger commercial trucks, it is important to understand that these vehicles have four blind spots – along the sides, and in the front and back.
- When passing a vehicle, and motorcyclists should do so as quickly as they can in a safe way. In other words, there is no need to simply meander along when passing a vehicle, even when there are multiple lanes heading in the same direction. Pass the vehicle safely and get back to your own motorcycle “bubble” on the roadway.
- Always keep defensive driving tactics in mind. Even though you can control your own actions on the roadway as a motorcyclist, you cannot control the actions of other motorcyclists or passenger vehicle drivers. Always be on the lookout for signs of unsafe driving and be ready to react appropriately.
Safety Tips for Passenger Vehicle Drivers
If you are operating a traditional vehicle on the roadway, you need to make sure that you keep safety in mind when there are motorcyclists nearby.
- When you are operating on the roadway, you need to know where your blind spots are. You need to check these blind spots for other vehicles regularly, particularly if you have to change lanes. Your mirrors can tell you where most vehicles are around you, but not in the blind spots.
- Use your turn signal when you are changing lanes and give others around you time to react to the impending change. Do not change lanes until the lane beside you is clear of traffic.
- Many modern vehicles have various types of assisted technology designed to provide blind spot visibility. This includes sensors that detect vehicles inside your blind spots. If you have this type of technology, familiarize yourself with its use. However, you should not solely rely on assistive technology. You should still check your blind spots when changing lanes.