One of the common themes people talk about with motorcycles is the idea of “laying down” the bike when a crash seems imminent. Some drivers will tell stories about how they had to do this. Maybe a car pulled out of a driveway in front of them, for instance, and they laid the bike on the pavement to keep from hitting the car. 

Not wanting to hit the other vehicle, of course, is the safest mindset you can have. You should try to avoid a crash. But is laying the bike down actually the best way to do that?

It’s usually not. For one thing, you can’t steer. The bike is just going to slide straight forward. Odds are that the vehicle you want to avoid is precisely in that direction. Laying the bike down just guarantees that it is going to hit the car, albeit a little lower. 

The second issue is traction. The more traction, the faster you can cut speed and stop. Now, which gives you more: The metal/plastic side of your bike or the rubber tires that are inherently designed to grip the road? Considered this way, the choice is obvious. The bike is going to stop more quickly if you’re upright and hitting the brakes than it will if you lay it on its side and just let it slide out all of that momentum. Laying the bike down actually means that you’ll be going faster at the time of the impact. 

You need to know what you should do when facing a potential crash. You also need to know how to seek compensation when another driver puts you in the hospital.