What’s the Most Common Cause of a Crash Between a Car and a Motorcycle?

Motorcyclists are more vulnerable to injuries due to traffic accidents than passengers in traditional vehicles. However, motorcycles have the right to be on the roadway. Both motorcyclists and passenger vehicle drivers must work to ensure safety for everyone. There are many ways in which a car versus motorcycle crash can occur, but some causes are more common than others.

Driver negligence is the most common cause of accidents involving motorcycles. All too often, drivers fail to follow the rules of the road around motorcyclists.

How does driver negligence affect motorcyclists?

When drivers in passenger vehicles fail to exercise care and caution on the roadway, motorcyclists are vulnerable. Some of the most common cause of driver negligence in a motorcycle crash include:

Failure to yield

Intersections are a dangerous place for motorcyclists. Cars making left turns at intersections often fail to yield the right-of-way and ride into the path of an oncoming motorcycle. Research indicates that this is because drivers tend to look for larger vehicles when turning, not a smaller motorcycle.

Blindspot issues

Most drivers rely on their mirrors to keep track of the vehicles around them, but there are blind spots around the car. Drivers who make sudden lane changes without checking their blind spots can cause serious accidents for motorcyclists.

Lack of perception

Most drivers are used to judging the distance of an approaching passenger vehicle, but their perception may be distorted with a smaller motorcycle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends letting motorcycles pass before entering the roadway.

Distracted driving

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that distracted driving is anything that takes a driver’s mind off driving, eyes off the road, and hands off the wheel. This can include talking or texting, checking emails, eating, reaching for something in the vehicle, and more. Distracted driving is dangerous driving, especially when operating around motorcycles.

Impaired driving

Drinking and driving remain one of the top roadway safety concerns in Tennessee. The legal limit is .08%, but many drivers continue to operate while intoxicated. Alcohol and drugs can slow a driver’s reaction time, affect their vision, and impair color distinction.

Drowsy driving

Driving while fatigued can have the same results as drunk driving. All too often, drivers get behind the wheel and fall asleep. Even if they do not fall asleep, fatigued driving can lead to impaired judgment and reduced reaction time.

These incidents are not uncommon

Studies indicate that a motorcyclist is 28 times more likely to die in a crash than passengers in traditional vehicles.

During the latest reporting year in Tennessee, there were over 200,000 total crashes in the state. Out of those crashes, 168 motorcyclists lost their lives, the highest number of motorcyclist fatalities ever recorded in a single year in Tennessee.

For the motorcyclists who survive a collision with a passenger vehicle, the injuries are often severe. This includes:

  • Spinal cord trauma (possible paralysis)
  • Head injuries/traumatic brain injuries
  • Internal organ damage or internal bleeding
  • Broken or dislocated bones
  • Severe lacerations or road rash

Each of these injuries requires medical attention and can lead to expensive medical bills for the victims. In many cases, a motorcycle crash victim is temporarily or permanently disabled.