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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger

Mastering Road Safety: What Is the 12-second Rule on a Motorcycle?

Many people are familiar with the five-second rule and may have practiced it in their lives. The five seconds rule states that any food dropped is okay to eat if someone picks it up within five seconds or less. The 12-second rule, on the other hand, has nothing to do with food but, interestingly, with motorcycles.


What Is the 12-second Rule on a Motorcycle?

What Is the 12-second Rule on a Motorcycle?


Road hazards, such as rough roads, gravel, edge breaks, animals, slick surfaces, and debris, are among the most common causes of motorcycle accidents in the United States. To avoid such obstacles or upcoming traffic hazards, motorcyclists and motorists must always be vigilant and practice defensive driving.


The 12-second rule requires motorcyclists and drivers to watch 12 seconds ahead for any possible road hazards. It would give them enough time to stop or take evasive action to help prevent accidents, helping save lives.


According to traffic safety experts, the best time to use the 12-second rule is during bad weather or heavy traffic. However, a slightly shorter period of 8 seconds should be enough to look ahead for obstacles or hazards during daytime driving when the roads are dry, and there isn't much traffic.


How the 12-second Rule Can Prevent Multiple Vehicle Accidents


Often, motorcyclists and drivers do not see possible road hazards until it's too late. When that happens, they immediately take last-minute evasive action that puts them and other road users around them in danger.


Looking 12 seconds ahead can give riders and drivers enough time to think and make the right decision. Whether they decide to change the lane safely or gradually slow down, their actions because of looking ahead can prevent multiple vehicle accidents.


Besides preventing accidents, the 12-second rule can help change the attitude of motorcyclists when they hit the road. It helps motorcyclists be more aware of their surroundings. The rule also helps improve the motorcyclist's decision-making abilities, which can benefit them in the long term.


It is crucial for motorcyclists to know that the 12-second rule does not guarantee safety, as it is only a guideline. To ensure maximum safety, motorcyclists must follow the rule, wear protective gear, obey traffic laws, and maintain their motorcycles in good condition.


How Can Motorcyclists Scan the Road?


The 12-second rule is there to remind motorists and other road users of the potential hazards on the road that could lead to an accident. Scanning the road doesn't mean looking straight ahead for any hazards but thoroughly scanning the entire surroundings.


Motorcyclists shouldn't only be on the lookout for debris, gravel, and other road hazards but also broken down motor vehicles, slow-moving motor vehicles, motor vehicles waiting to make a left or right turn at a signal, warning signs, construction work, and any cars crossing the lane. Schuerger Shunnarah can also answer questions like, "Can you get PTSD from a motorcycle accident?"


How Much Is a 12 Seconds Distance?


The distance a motorcycle or a motor vehicle covers in 12 seconds depends on how fast it goes. For example, if a motorcycle travels at 30mph, the motorcyclist should look 528 feet ahead of them as 30 mph roughly translates to 44 feet per second.


If the motorcyclist increases the speed to 45 mph, they must look 792 feet ahead. The visual lead continues to extend depending on how fast the motorcyclist is going, which can be extremely scary to think about if the motorcyclist is riding at 80 or 90 mph. At such speeds, the rider will have to look 1,404 to 1,584 feet ahead of them, which makes scanning the road almost impossible.


Some may argue that it can be difficult to see possible road hazards such as gravel, oil spills, or a pothole in the middle of the road a block away. Although that might be true, motorcyclists can see a dark spot, allowing them to slow down their speed and safely change lanes to avoid collisions.


It is important to note that the focus should be far enough to see trouble and potentially bigger problems that could result in an accident, such as a car coming out of the driveway, a motor vehicle making a left-hand turn or a stopped vehicle in the middle of the highway.


Avoid Tailgaters If Someone Isn't Following the 12-second Rule

Avoid Tailgaters If Someone Isn't Following the 12-second Rule


Sometimes road construction or debris may not be the cause for concern, but it could be tailgaters. A motorcyclist may be able to avoid upcoming traffic hazards, but what about the danger behind them, such as a tailgating motor vehicle? In such situations, it is best for the motorcyclist to change lanes or pull to the side of the road to let the motor vehicle pass. Schuerger Shunnarah can advise on questions such as, "What is a low side and high side motorcycle crash?"


How Can Lawyers at Schuerger Shunnarah Help Motorcyclists after an Accident?


Even the most defensive riders can end up in an accident due to a negligent driver. They may suffer from serious injuries, and if that happens, they must reach out to experienced motorcycle accident lawyers in Houston.

A skilled motorcycle accident lawyer at Schuerger Shunnarah can help an injured motorcyclist in many ways, including the following:

  • Allocate resources to investigate the accident to determine the liable party.

  • Gather evidence, such as CCTV footage, medical records, photos, videos, police reports, and interview witnesses, to establish negligence and build a trial-ready case.

  • Follow the legal process, complete all the paperwork, and file a claim or a lawsuit against the negligent party's insurance company.

  • Protect the injured party's rights by handling the insurance company to negotiate a fair settlement.

  • Take the negligent party and their insurer to court if they fail to negotiate a fair settlement.

It is crucial for injured motorcyclists to schedule a free consultation with experienced motorcycle accident attorneys at Schuerger Shunnarah by calling on (833) 692-5038.


Schuerger Shunnarah and their attorneys have extensive trial experience handling personal injury cases, including motor vehicle and motorcycle accidents, and have recovered tens of millions of dollars for injured victims.


The secret to their success is that Schuerger Shunnarah has inspired lawyers who previously represented big insurance companies to become part of their legal team. With all the secret inside knowledge, the legal team at Schuerger Shunnarah knows how to handle insurance companies and their executives.


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