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Motorcycle accidents have been on the climb in recent years, especially in more high-traffic areas like on the roads around Chicago. Last year in Illinois, there were nearly 120 deaths from motorcycle accidents, and the majority of them occurred around Chicago.
Because motorcyclists are often falsely labeled as reckless adrenaline junkies, they tend to be blamed for these accidents, when in actuality these incidents are primarily caused by the negligence of other drivers. Here are some of the top risks to motorcyclists and what can be done to prevent accidents from occurring.
It’s likely that, growing up, you had the dangers of impaired driving drilled into you, whether it be through driver’s education courses or programs like D.A.R.E. Impaired driving is when a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol while behind the wheel. Substances like these can negatively impact a driver’s basic motor skills, as well as their judgement or reaction time. Impaired drivers will struggle to be able to determine the speed, distance, and movement of other vehicles, as well as their own position on the road.
Additionally, alcohol and certain drugs can cause drivers to feel drowsy to the point where they might fall asleep at the wheel. All of these factors affect their ability to make rational decisions and appropriately react to the things around them, which is why many impaired drivers end up swerving off of the road or into oncoming traffic, causing accidents. Driving under the influence is a serious offense, so drivers are sure to be prosecuted after the fact, but this does not guarantee that you will receive the appropriate compensation for your suffering. This is why it’s important to seek council from an experienced attorney. Through their free case evaluation, they’ll be able to determine what you are owed and ensure that you get it.
You can prevent impaired driving accidents by being proactive. If you know you’re going to be in a situation where you might be drinking, then you should have a plan as to how you’re going to get hom. If you’re going out with friends, discuss having a designated driver for your group and make sure that they stay sober throughout the night. You could also have someone pick you up and drop you off, or you could utilize public transit like the bus, the L, a taxi, or a car from a rideshare app. If you’re drinking at the home of someone you’re close with, you could choose to spend the night there to avoid having to figure out transportation altogether.
You might be surprised to find that, since the introduction of cellphones, distracted driving has become the number one leading cause of accidents in the United States. Distracted driving is now almost six times more likely to cause an accident than drunk driving. While handheld devices are the main culprit in instances of distracted driving, they are certainly not the only cause. Distracted driving is defined as anything that pulls a driver’s attention away from the road. This could include something like eating a snack, fiddling with the radio, or interacting with other passengers. The few seconds that your attention is stolen from the road could be the few seconds you would have needed to prevent an accident.
Distracted driving accidents can be prevented by staying focused on the road when you’re behind the wheel. Try to eliminate all possible distractions. Pull up your playlist or any necessary directions before you start driving. If you need to eat, then pull over. The same goes for if you get an important text or phone call that can’t wait until you arrive at your destination, though ideally you should keep your phone on ‘do not disturb’ while driving.
What Can Motorcyclists Do to Stay Safe?
While it’s passenger vehicles and trucks that pose the biggest threat to bikers, there are precautions they can take in an effort to prioritize their own safety.
Invest in the Appropriate Gear
Safety gear like leather jackets, gloves, and helmets, are specially designed to protect riders and minimize their risk of injury. Certain types of helmets and jackets are designed for specific uses. It’s important that you do your research and find the right styles to fit your riding style.
Avoid Reckless Riding
Another important thing you can do to ensure your own safety while on the road is to avoid riding recklessly. Follow all road safety laws like speed limits and right-of-way rules. Additionally, avoid splitting lanes. You might think it’s a harmless way to get to where you’re going faster, but this type of dangerous behavior has led to a shocking number of rider deaths. It’s better to be patient so you arrive alive.