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Why drivers may not see motorcycles before a collision

Flat terrain, moderate weather and gorgeous water views make Florida ideal for motorcycles. However, due to the lack of an exterior frame and safety features that passenger vehicles have, it is also a dangerous way to travel.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to die in a collision with another vehicle than occupants of passenger cars.

Inattentional blindness

The brain is a complex organ, processing enormous amounts of sensory information in the blink of an eye. It takes what the eyes see and uses a kind of visual shorthand. In an unfamiliar environment, such as when traveling in a car, the brain conserves resources. Science Daily reports that this often results in look-but-fail-to-see crashes caused by inattentional blindness.

When a motorcycle, bicycle or pedestrian occupies the space typically occupied by a car or truck, the brain doesn’t process the unexpected visual fast enough. Drivers may look directly at the motorcycle yet not see it before pulling out in front of it.

Blind spots

A blind spot is an area around a car or truck that the driver cannot directly observe. Adjusting mirrors located inside the cabin and on the frame outside the doors can reduce the blind spot size. Physically turning back, looking for traffic approaching before changing lanes, can help minimize the chances of pulling out in front of a motorcycle. Motorcyclists can take steps that reduce the likelihood of being in a blind spot accident, such as the following:

  • Leave more space between them and the vehicle ahead of them
  • Keep headlights on
  • Wear bright colors
  • Pass other vehicles quickly

Wearing helmets and other equipment can help protect motorcyclists who collide with a passenger car or truck. Motorcyclists seriously injured in a crash due to negligent drivers may have grounds for a suit. A settlement from an auto accident injury claim can help pay for hospital bills, lost wages and ongoing medical expenses.