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Tips: How to share the road with motorcyclists

As we welcome spring and warm weather, North Carolina drivers will start to see more and more motorcycles take to the roads.

When the number of motorcycles on the roads increases, so does the risk of collisions with larger vehicles. There have been reports of motorcycle accidents already this season. And whether or not motorcyclists wear protective gear, they are more vulnerable than any other vehicle on the road.

To prevent the risk of such catastrophic accidents, there are a few steps that drivers can take to drive safely and share the road with motorcyclists.

1. Pay extra attention to blind spots

A motorcycle's small size often means they fit perfectly in a larger vehicle's blind spots. Drivers must stay alert and be sure to check their blind spots twice when turning or changing lanes.

Along these lines, drivers should also make sure they use their signals to inform other drivers and motorcyclists of their actions long before they make them.

2. Give motorcycles plenty of space

The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) advises that drivers should keep plenty of space between their vehicle and the motorcycle when possible. The recommended following distance is three to four-seconds worth of space.

Keeping a safe following distance allows both motorcyclists and drivers to have plenty of room to stop and react to hazards.

3. Be careful at intersections

Drivers should also be on the lookout for motorcycles when they are stopped as well. Intersections can be a dangerous place for motorcycle collisions for a few reasons:

  • Vehicles making left-hand turns create one of the most dangerous situations for motorcycles. Nearly 42% of motorcycle accidents occur in these circumstances. This could involve vehicles turning in front of motorcycles or motorcycles trying to pass the vehicle.
  • North Carolina has a "safe-on-red" law. This means that motorcycles can go through intersections at a red light as long as they come to a complete stop and wait three minutes.

Therefore, drivers should also take care when they come to intersections this season.

When motorists take steps to drive defensively and share the road with motorcyclists, they can make the roads safer for everyone.

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