Intersection Collisions: Tragic Blind Spots for Motorcyclists in South Carolina

Intersections are dangerous places for all road users, but they pose unique risks for motorcyclists. An intersection collision between a motorcycle and another vehicle often has devastating consequences for the motorcyclist. In South Carolina, a troubling number of motorcyclists are injured or killed in crashes at intersections each year – 166 in 2021.

Common Causes of Motorcycle-Vehicle Intersection Collisions

There are several factors that contribute to the high incidence of motorcycle collisions at intersections in South Carolina:

Driver Fails to See the Motorcyclist

One of the most common causes of intersection crashes involving a motorcycle is a driver failing to see the motorcycle and violating the biker’s right-of-way. Motorcycles have a much smaller profile than cars and trucks, making them harder to spot. Drivers looking left for oncoming traffic may not notice a motorcycle approaching from the right.

Blind Spots and Visual Obstructions

Even safety-conscious drivers can have difficulty seeing motorcycles at intersections due to blind spots. A-pillars, mirrors, and other car components create visual obstructions. Drivers should turn their heads to check thoroughly for oncoming traffic, but many neglect this crucial step.

Speed Differentials

Motorcycles often accelerate faster than cars from a stop. Drivers turning left may misjudge the speed of an oncoming motorcycle, pulling out when they think they have time but cutting off the faster-moving bike.

Driver Distraction/Inattention

Today’s drivers are increasingly distracted by mobile devices and in-vehicle technology. Focused on their phone, dashboard, or passengers, drivers may neglect to watch for motorcyclists when entering an intersection. Any form of driver distraction or inattention heightens the risk of failing to yield.

Traffic Violations

Right-of-way violations, disregarding traffic signals, rolling stops, and other dangerous behaviors increase the chances of an intersection collision. Drivers and motorcyclists alike must exercise caution and adhere to traffic laws at every intersection.

Intersection Collision Injury Patterns

When a vehicle turns in front of or collides with a motorcycle in an intersection, the motorcyclist often suffers severe injuries in the resulting crash, including:

  • Orthopedic injuries: Fractures, dislocations, sprains
  • Head and neck injuries: Concussions, spinal cord damage
  • Road rash/abrasions from skidding on pavement
  • Internal organ damage from blunt force trauma

Multi-vehicle intersection crashes involving a motorcycle frequently result in traumatic brain injuries that require extensive rehabilitation and lifelong care. Spinal cord injuries leading to paraplegia or quadriplegia are also devastating, life-altering consequences.

Tips for Motorcyclists to Prevent Intersection Collisions

While drivers must be alert, motorcyclists can also take proactive steps to enhance safety at intersections:

  • Maintain a safe following distance and proper speed when approaching intersections. Avoiding tailgating and excessive speed gives you more time to react and stop.
  • Scan aggressively for turning vehicles and make eye contact with drivers. Actively watch for drivers signaling or positioning for a turn and try to make eye contact before entering the intersection.
  • Assume you are invisible to drivers and ride defensively. Ride under the assumption that other motorists have not seen you and may pull out in front of you. Being prepared to brake or swerve could prevent a crash.
  • Avoid riding in blind spots and use lane positioning to increase visibility. Stay out of a vehicle’s blind spots as you approach an intersection. Take a lane position that maximizes your visibility to other drivers.
  • Exercise caution when passing lines of stopped cars. Paused traffic on your left may obscure oncoming vehicles preparing to turn left. Pass stopped cars with extreme care.
  • Wear brightly colored and reflective riding gear. Bright or neon colors and reflective strips will help drivers notice you. Avoid riding in all black.
  • Use turn signals early and often. Clearly signal every move so drivers understand your intent. Don’t rely on hand signals alone.
  • Equip your motorcycle with loud exhaust pipes and extra lighting. Loud pipes and auxiliary lights can help compensate for motorcycles’ low visibility and make you stand out.
  • Slow down and cover your brakes near intersections. Being prepared to stop quickly is key to avoiding crashes. Avoid accelerating full throttle through intersections.
  • Assume drivers do not see you and be prepared to take evasive action. Ride defensively and be ready to brake hard or swerve if a vehicle pulls into your path.

Remaining highly vigilant and being prepared to react instantly at every intersection will help motorcyclists avoid devastating crashes. Following these tips could save your life.

Consulting a Skilled Motorcycle Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle-vehicle intersection collision that was caused by another motorist’s failure to yield or negligence, you should speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer.

We have 32 offices in 19 states, including South Carolina, Utah, and Washington, and our attorneys can help you recover damages for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses stemming from the crash. With compassion and expertise, we will fight to obtain full and fair compensation as you focus on healing from your injuries.

Do not delay in contacting our motorcycle accident legal team for a free consultation on (888) 477-0597.