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Defensive driving can save a motorcyclist

If you're a motorcyclist, even a relatively new one, you probably already have a sense of the risks you face on the road. You know how much other people hold your life in their hands.

After all, it's one thing not to make mistakes yourself. It's quite another to guarantee that no one around you will. Remember that the main reason for car accidents is human error. You only need to ride near one person who makes a critical error to find yourself in the hospital with catastrophic injuries.

Plus, the odds of such serious injuries are higher for you, on the motorcycle, than they are for someone in a car. You're in significant danger because you have far less protection and can get physically thrown from the bike.

What can you do to stay safe? Your best bet is to focus on defensive driving. Here are a few tips that can help.

1. Do not focus on only one part of the road

Some riders, especially when they're pretty new, tend to stare straight forward. You may look at a spot about four seconds ahead of the bike and stare at it intently. You want to look exactly where you're going.

That feeling is natural, but defensive driving means being aware of all of the vehicles around you. To do that, you have to check the mirrors, look at cars on the side streets, and the like. You have to keep your eyes up and scan all of the traffic around you so that you see any potential hazards right away.

2. Do not drive aggressively

Don't drive too fast or too close to other vehicles. Doing so just cuts back on your reaction times. It's the opposite of defensive driving. If you're right near another car when that driver makes a mistake, you have just a heartbeat to react. If you're 50 yards from them, you have a far better chance of avoiding the accident.

3. Understand where you face the greatest risks

For instance, one of the biggest risks is when a driver has to turn left in front of you. If they don't see your bike, they may turn much too close to you and cause a crash. Being aware of this when you see a car waiting to turn means that you're ready to react as soon as they do. That state of awareness can save your life.

What now?

These tips can help, but what if they weren't enough? What if another driver still caused a crash and you suffered catastrophic injuries? You must know what legal steps you can take and what rights you may have to compensation.

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