According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 25 percent, or one-fourth, of motorcycle accidents involving two vehicles (including the motorcycle) are rear-end collisions. NHTSA's numbers also show that in 68 percent of rear-end crashes involving motorcycles and passenger vehicles, the motorcycle was said to be the striking vehicle.
Rear-end motorcycle collisions are some of the most catastrophic, particularly for the motorcyclist, who is clearly the more vulnerable party in these cases. Even when a car strikes a motorcycle from behind at a slow speed (something that might be called a fender-bender as far as the car is concerned), that impact might be enough for the motorcyclist to get thrown off the vehicle and suffer major traumatic injuries.
How to Prevent Rear-End Collisions
Since statistics show that the majority of these rear-end collisions occur when the motorcycle strikes the other passenger vehicle, let us look at how motorcyclists can help prevent these types of accidents. We've seen that a number of these rear-end accidents involve incidents where the vehicle in front made a sudden stop or dangerous maneuver such as suddenly changing lanes in front of the motorcyclist. This doesn't give the motorcyclist sufficient time to stop or make some type of evasive maneuver.
Here are a few steps motorcyclists can take to prevent a devastating rear-end collision:
Maintain visibility. As traffic slows down ahead of you or when you are making your way through slow-moving traffic, it's always a good idea to make sure the driver behind you sees you slowing. In order to get their attention apply the brakes so the lights flash and alert the driver.
Keep your distance. When you stop, make sure you leave enough space between you and the vehicle ahead. If you are too close to the vehicle in front, you may not have sufficient room to get out if there is an emergency situation.
Remain alert. Continue to check your mirrors as you slow down to see if the vehicle that is right behind you is also slowing. If you see the vehicle barreling right through, you know that the driver is not paying attention to slowing traffic and you are in real danger of getting hit from behind. Stay in gear just in case you need to get out of harm's way. Be aware of your escape route at all times. Scan the roadway to see where you could possibly go if you suddenly had to get out of the way of a distracted driver behind you.
Be aware of other drivers. Look carefully to see if someone is driving erratically or dangerously. Get out of their way as soon and as safely as you can. As a motorcyclist, you are way more vulnerable than other drivers on the roadway.
If You Have Been Rear-Ended
If you have been injured in a rear-end motorcycle accident caused by a distracted or otherwise negligent driver, you may be entitled to receive compensation for the injuries and damages you have sustained. Call our experienced Orange County motorcycle accident lawyers to find out how you can protect your rights and secure fair compensation for your significant losses.