In about two-thirds of all motorcycle crashes involving another vehicle, the other driver and not the motorcyclist is at fault. And this usually happens because drivers aren’t looking for and fail to notice motorcyclists.
So while it might seem safer to ride at night when there are fewer cars on the road, riding after dark actually just makes it much harder for other drivers to spot motorcyclists and makes crashes more likely. In fact, 27% of all fatal motorcycle crashes occur between the hours of 9 p.m. and 3 a.m., according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
You Can’t Always Ride During the Day, But We’re Always Here to Help
The safest time to ride is always in full daylight when the weather is clear. But we understand that sometimes you need to ride in less-than-ideal conditions. If you find yourself needing to get somewhere on your motorcycle after the sun has gone down, these safety tips can help.
And if you ever need help dealing with an uncooperative insurance company after a wreck that wasn’t your fault, the Columbus motorcycle injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Gary Bruce are prepared to step in. We know all the ways that insurance companies discriminate against motorcycle riders, and we also know how to fight back so our clients get the compensation they need.
Use Reflective Tape to Make Yourself More Visible
Riding a brightly colored motorcycle or wearing high-viz motorcycle gear can make you more visible to drivers during the day, but unfortunately, it won’t do much at night.
However, adding reflective tape or stickers to your motorcycle and safety gear CAN make you more visible in low-light conditions, like those at dusk, dawn, and at night. Additionally, reflective tape is usually not very noticeable in the daytime, so you don’t have to worry about it detracting from your bike’s paint job or look.
Reflective tape can be added to anywhere on your bike that sticks out, as well as to highly visible spots on your gear, but some of the most common and effective places to add reflective tape include:
- Edges of windscreen
- Crash bars
- Wheel rims
- Shoulder blades of jacket
When the reflective tape will be visible from behind, use tape that reflects red to mimic a vehicle’s taillights. When the reflective tape will be visible from the front or sides, use tape that reflects white or yellow to mimic a vehicle’s headlights.
Check Your Lights
Before getting on your motorcycle, make sure that your headlight, taillight, and turn signals are fully functioning. If your headlight is dim, it may need to be cleaned or replaced. You may consider replacing your stock headlight with a brighter LED headlight or installing a headlight modulator, which makes your low beam pulse to draw more attention and make you more visible to other drivers.
Making sure your lights are functioning and bright is not just important to making sure other drivers can see you, but also makes sure that you can see them and other road obstacles, too. When riding at night, you should never “out ride” your lights. Know how long it will take you to slow down and come to a complete stop. If your stopping distance is longer than the distance you can see in front of you from your headlight, you will not have enough time to stop or evade if you come across a road hazard like a pothole or debris that could cause you to crash.
Know Where to Look
When passing other vehicles, their headlights may temporarily blind you or impair your night vision, making it easier for you to crash. However, turning your head away from approaching vehicles’ headlights could make it easier for you to lose control of your motorcycle.
Instead, keep your eyes on the lane markers ahead of you, rather than on the vehicles themselves. This can help protect your vision from bright lights and keep you headed in the right direction and in your lane.
Motorcyclists must always ride defensively, but it’s far more important to do so at night than at any other time you may ride. While there will be fewer cars sharing the road with you, more crashes happen at night than at other times of day. This is for a variety of reasons.
- At night, more drivers are likely to be intoxicated, and in fact, you are 4x more likely to be killed in a drunk driving accident at night than during the day.
- You are also far more likely to encounter drivers who are tired or falling asleep at the wheel at night, and studies show that drowsy driving is just as or even more dangerous than drunk driving.
- Because there are fewer cars on the road, the drivers who are out are more likely to be speeding.
- Animals, such as deer, may also be taking advantage of the decreased traffic to cross the road and in front of your motorcycle.
- Finally, because it is dark, even alert drivers may have a more difficult time seeing you in the dark, increasing the risk of a collision.
In all, you are 3x more likely to be killed in a crash at night than during the day. Non-fatal injuries on motorcycles tend to be severe and life-altering. When you or someone you love are injured because another driver was driving while tired, drunk, or distracted, you don’t deserve to pay for their mistakes. Our goal is to help you get the compensation you need to put the pieces of your life back together again.
We Help Alabama and Georgia Motorcycle Crash Victims Get Compensation
Motorcyclists often face prejudice from police and insurance companies who believe that they caused their own accidents by being reckless. But we know that is often not the case. You need every advantage you can get when fighting for the compensation you deserve, and that includes a firm that knows what you’re up against and is willing to fight for YOU and not just a paycheck.
Our communities in Columbus and Fort Benning, Georgia, and Phenix City, Alabama, know us and the lengths we will go to help our clients. Other firms, especially large out-of-town firms, often don’t care about anything more than churning through as many cases as they can in as short a time frame as they can, even if that means pressuring you to accept a settlement that is way too small to cover your likely substantial medical expenses.
If you want to understand what a firm that cares really means, call Gary Bruce today for a free consultation, and we’ll help you understand your options and what your injury is truly worth.