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by BikeBandit

As an avid motorcycle rider, there’s nothing quite like getting your bike, revving up the engine and taking off down the road with the wind rushing past you. A motorcycle ride can be an exhilarating rush of excitement and energy. Of course, you also know there are potential hazards every time the wheels hit the pavement. It’s essential that you practice safe techniques to ensure a safe ride. You can also follow important techniques and guidelines to help ensure you know the safest way to your ride your motorcycle on the highway so you can arrive at your destination without incident.

The Big Culprits

The newest motorcycle riders know that certain pitfalls await unsuspecting drivers. Because they’re smaller and harder to see, motorcycles are easier for car drivers to miss than other vehicles. While everyone on the road has a responsibility to drive safely, it’s up to you to do your part and understand highway driving safety tips.

Changing lanes unsafely is one of the biggest causes of motorcycle crashes. You could be driving down the road or highway at the legal speed, focused on the path ahead when a car, truck or SUV could suddenly glide into your lane and clip you or, worse, cause an all-out crash.

Traffic jams can frustrate any driver of any vehicle—motorcycle and cars alike. These typically start during commuting hours but also result due to accidents, poor weather or road construction. During congestion, people often lose their patience and don’t think clearly. It’s also easier to lose focus and concentration during these moments. You may find yourself getting rear-ended or sideswiped by dazing drivers. 

Merging is another concern, whether you’re getting onto the freeway yourself or whether other cars are coming on, ready to move into you lane. This is a prime spot for crashes and severe motorcycle accidents. 

Be Aware of Stopping Vehicles

It may go without saying, but you can avoid many accidents and unfortunate scenarios on your motorcycle if you’ll stay keenly aware of what’s going on around you in all directions. There are some key cues you can follow to help you avert potentially deadly situations when riding a motorcycle on the highway.

First, look for brake lights. This is particularly crucial in heavier traffic. When traffic is flowing nicely, you may not find yourself hitting the brakes much; however, as more vehicles get on the road and clog up lanes, brake lights will dominate the roadway. When you see these lighting up in front of you, make sure you react quickly. Stay far enough away from the vehicle in front of you so you have plenty of time to stop. The two-second rule is critical here. Make sure you hit the brakes in a timely manner as well. Other drivers may ask themselves, “What is the proper following distance behind a motorcyclist?” It’s two seconds here as well. 

Look for Potential Hazards on Cars

You would hope all drivers on the road would know how to properly secure their loads. But, as anyone is aware, a lot of people don’t use their heads as they get into their vehicles. It’s not unusual to see luggage, camping gear or other materials shifting back and forth on the top of a car, SUV or minivan. You may even see furniture or boxes teetering in the bed of a truck where you just know at any minute that big load is going to spill all over the road. Keep a safe distance between you and the problem vehicle. Also, make sure you’ve got a lane to either side where you can safely swerve to miss falling objects.

Watch for Poor Road Conditions

It’s no secret that you can’t control other drivers’ actions. You also have no influence on road conditions or environmental factors. But there are ways you can cope with even the most unruly roads and weather.

As you’re on your motorcycle, scan the road ahead for debris such as rocks, wood, or anything that may have fallen off another vehicle. If you see these items well in advance, you shouldn’t have trouble missing them and keeping out of harm’s way. Be aware of the actions of other drivers as they move to avert these objects as well. 

In heavy rains, standing water may gather. High winds can also be a problem. Inform yourself of impending weather in the area where you’ll be traveling. If necessary, exit the highway or even pull over (if it’s safe enough to do so) and wait out the storm. Also, watch out for potholes, soft shoulders and lane closures. 

Check Your Blind Spots

You love your motorcycle, but you know they’re not famous for overly helpful mirrors. If you completely rely on your mirrors to see what’s behind you, you’re making a grave mistake. Too many riders get into trouble or serious accident when changing lanes without check blind spots. In all cases when you change lanes, take a quick look over your shoulder to ensure there’s ample space to get over. Don’t chance small gaps; make sure there’s enough space to move over so  you’ll still have room between you and car in front of you and so the driver in back won’t have to slam on his or her brakes. 

Where to Drive?

Many motorcycle drivers want to know where is the safest lane on the highway. The best answer is in the lane next to the driver’s side where possible. If this isn’t possible, the best motorcycle lane position is where adjacent drivers can best see you. It’s helpful to make eye contact and never change lanes into another driver’s blind spot, or right behind his or her car doors. 

Wear the Right Equipment

Anytime you go out on the road—especially the highway—you should wear protective gear. This should be non-negotiable. Choose a sturdy, full-face model. This is hardly the only equipment you should put on when you ride. Take this matter seriously and wear knee, shoulder and wrist protectors. You should also consider chest protectors, ankle supports and shin guards. You may want to put in some earplugs while you ride your motorcycle as well. 

With the proper equipment, the right knowledge, and some common-sense awareness, you can enjoy a satisfying, exciting ride on your motorcycle. Put these words of wisdom into practice today.

Source: Bike Bandit

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