How to Avoid Motorcycle Accident at Night
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), night riding (9pm – 3am) in 2016 accounted for 27 percent of the motorcycle fatalities due to riders lacking the protection of an enclosed vehicle. In addition, night riders have an entirely different set of driving hazards working against them because they simply can’t see as well or be seen by other motorists in the dark. Stay safer while night riding with these tips from the Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C. and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.
- Choose the Best Lane Position: Change to whatever portion of the lane is best able to help you see, be seen and keep an adequate space cushion.
- Be Visible:Wear motorcycle gear that has reflective fabric or piping. Grab an easy to wear reflective safety vest that can be worn over your riding gear and have it handy if you get stranded in the darkness. In addition, use your high beam whenever you are not following or meeting a car, replace the OEM bulbs with LEDs, and change out or add to your brake lighting with a flasher that makes your bulb blink and capture the attention of other drivers.
- Travel With the Car Ahead, Ride Within the Light: The headlights of the car ahead can give you a better view of the road than even your high beam can. Taillights bouncing up and down can alert you to bumps or rough pavement.
- Increase Distance: Distances are harder to judge at night than during the day. Your eyes rely upon shadows and light contrasts to determine how far away an object is and how fast it is coming. These contrasts are missing or distorted under artificial lights at night. Open up a three-second following distance or more. And allow more distance to pass and be passed.
- Reduce Your Speed: Ride even slower, yet still within safe limits, than you would during the day. This will increase your chances of avoiding a hazard or speed related accident, especially on roads you don’t know well.
- Never Ride Under the Influence:Anyone under the influence of drugs or alcohol should not operate a motorcycle (or any type of motor vehicle). In 2016, nearly half (47 percent) of all fatal accidents involving alcohol and riding motorcycles occurred at night between the hours of 9pm and 3am.
- Watch for Animals: Many animals tend to come out at night and may be near the road or crossing a quiet highway. If you do happen to come across one at night, remember that hitting anything on a bike can be big problem. If you can safely avoid running into it, do your best to not travel off the road or into oncoming traffic.
A helmet is not required in Michigan for adults with two years of experience and the required insurance coverage, but there is general agreement that helmet use is an important preventive measure against some of the most serious accident injuries, such as head or brain injuries that can cause paralysis, permanent disability, or death.
With changing hours comes changing dangers. Small adjustments, better awareness, better riding habits and adding simple safety upgrades to a motorcycle and gear should keep cyclists safe and enjoying a night time ride. Have fun!
Michigan Motorcycle Accident Injury Lawyers
Michigan motorcycle accident injury cases demand specific detail and expertise. The Lee Steinberg Law Firm has been handling motorcycle accident cases throughout Michigan for over 40 years. Please call us at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) if you have any questions about Michigan motorcycle accident injury law.
Additional Read: Do I Have an Injury Case If I Don’t Have Motorcycle Insurance?