Steps To Take if You Witness a Motorcycle Accident in Houston
It can be scary and overwhelming to witness a motorcycle accident. If you ever find yourself in this position, it’s helpful to be prepared so you know what to do. Your account as a witness can provide the police with important information about the cause and location of the accident. More importantly, if there are any injuries after an accident, your actions may help save lives. If you ever witness a motorcycle accident in Houston, here are the steps you can take:
Pull Over and Call 911
Before you do anything else, call 911. If you’re driving while the accident happens, find a safe spot to pull over and make the call. Don’t assume someone else will call 911. The operator will likely ask you for the location of the incident and a description of the vehicles involved, so be ready to provide this information if you have it. If the operator asks about potential injuries, don’t make assumptions. Tell them you’re unsure about injuries, even if the motorcyclist and others involved in the accident appear fine.
Document the Scene
While you’re waiting for emergency crews and police to arrive, take a few moments to collect your thoughts and document the scene. Take pictures from different angles to capture the motorcycle, other vehicles involved, and the roadway. If you find it helpful, jot down notes about what you witnessed. Try to remember the speed of the motorcycle or other drivers involved, where they were driving, and any actions that occurred immediately before the accident.
Provide Your Account
Although Texas law doesn’t require you to stay at the scene of an accident you’ve witnessed, many witnesses choose to do so because they believe it’s the right thing to do. When first responders arrive at the scene, they will probably ask witnesses for their account to help them determine how to proceed.
When police arrive and ask to speak with witnesses, provide your account of the accident. Police officers may ask you questions to help them determine the cause of the accident. In some cases, they may ask you to write down your account of the incident. Give truthful testimony about what you witnessed and provide information based only on what you saw. Try to remain calm so you can remember as many details as possible.
Give Your Contact Information
Stay at the scene of the accident until you’ve provided your full account and the police say you can leave. It’s possible the police may ask for your contact information if they have follow-up questions. The motorcyclist or another driver may also ask for your contact information as a witness to the accident. Give your contact information to these parties, such as your cellphone number or email address. If you’re contacted by an attorney to provide testimony about your account, it’s typically your decision if you want to accept this responsibility.
Common Incidents To Report for Motorcycle Safety
Last year in Texas, 2,318 motorcyclists suffered serious injuries in crashes, and another 519 riders died of injuries sustained in crashes, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. If you ever witness unsafe driving in Houston, whether it’s a motorcycle or a vehicle, it’s helpful to report these incidents because it can make the roads safer for everyone. Here are some common incidents you should report if you see them occur:
- Speeding: Excessive speeding can make it harder for motorcycles or vehicles to stop on time to prevent collisions. Additionally, a crash involving excessive speeds often results in more severe injuries, especially to motorcyclists.
- Distracted driving: Drivers who are distracted pay less attention to the road and other drivers, which may lead to crashes involving motorcyclists. If you notice a distracted driver using unsafe driving practices, it’s a good idea to report the incident.
- Tailgating: Another form of unsafe driving, tailgating often results in rear-end crashes, which can have dangerous results for motorcyclists. Call authorities if you ever see a driver following too close behind other vehicles on the road.
- Lane changes: Drivers who make unsafe lane changes, such as failing to use their blinkers or changing lanes without enough room, make it more dangerous for all other drivers on the road. In particular, motorcyclists are often involved in side-swipe accidents, which occur when drivers make these types of lane changes.
- Unsafe road conditions: Motorcyclists can be more susceptible to accidents occurring on unsafe roads, which can cause them to swerve or lose control. Types of unsafe road conditions may include gravel or debris in the roadway, standing water, or uneven roads.
Tips for Sharing the Road With Motorcyclists
There are many actions drivers can take to share the road with motorcyclists. Here are some tips to prevent motorcycle accidents and help keep everyone safer on the Houston roadways:
- Use caution when making a left turn. If you see a motorcyclist coming and you’re unsure whether you have enough time to complete the turn, let the motorcyclist pass first.
- Change lanes carefully. Use your rearview mirror, check for blind spots, use your blinker, and look twice before changing lanes to make sure you don’t cut off a motorcyclist.
- Don’t be a distracted driver. Don’t use your phone to text or make calls, and be careful whenever you have to take your eyes off the road, such as to change the radio station.
- Drive safely. Stay within the posted speed limits, make full stops at stop signs, and obey other traffic laws to keep yourself and others safe.
Contact Godsey Martin, P.C. After a Motorcycle Accident
Now you know what to do if you witness a motorcycle accident in Houston, along with some tips for keeping the roads safer for motorcyclists and drivers alike. We hope you’re never involved in a motorcycle accident, but if you are, we can help. Motorcyclists have the same rights on the road as everyone else, and we’re committed to fighting for fair compensation on your behalf after an accident. We want to help you get your life back on track so you can get back on the open road. For more information, contact our team at Godsey Martin, P.C.
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