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What a half-second could mean

More roads trips equals more accidents, but there are things drivers – especially motorcycle drivers – can do to reduce their chances of getting in an accident. Jesse Murphy, has been training riders, drivers and trainers for over a decade at Cascade Motorcycle Safety in Seattle. He says motorcycle riders need to give themselves just a little more space. That bit of extra space between them and other drivers can make all the difference when it comes to reacting and making quick decisions. He cites a NHTSA study that showed 80% of collisions could be avoided if drivers had just an extra ½ second to react.

That extra .05 seconds is more time to see, to be aware of other drivers and to react. He also notes that most accidents occur at intersections. The graph attached to this blog shows all the crashes in Missoula in 2020. It’s easy to see they are concentrated on the city’s busiest streets and intersections and Murphy suggests that drivers slow down and give other cars more space, especially at intersections.

Map of Missoula Montana indicateing the density of crashes.  The intersedction of Mullan Road and Reserve appears to hae the highest density of crashes followed by Broadway and Higgends and South and Brooks.
Missoula Montna Crash Heat Map

Montana drivers face an additional safety hazard because the trucks that are popular in the west obscure cars and motorcycles behind them. A motorcycle behind a Ford F-150 is likely invisible to the drivers in oncoming traffic and a motorcycle facing an oncoming truck may not be able to see cars passing from behind the truck until it’s too late. A little extra time and space can make all the difference.

For parents of teens who are learning to drive, Murphy also says slow down...and don’t be so quick to hand over the keys. Studies have shown that the more time your teen driver spends driving with you in the car, the fewer accidents they will have. Studies have found a minimum of 50 hours driving with your teen can reduce the rate of new driver accidents, but Murphy says he recommends more time and he encourages parents to go with their young driver behind the wheel in as many different kinds of weather and traffic conditions as possible before sending them off by themselves.

By Sheila Callahan from Mountain Broadcasting and Digital



Sheila has been a longtime member of the DUI Task Force and Buckle Up Montana Coalition and plays an integral part in helping develop and broadcast our safe driving messages throughout the Missoula Community.

Mountain Broadcasting and Digital has new offices at 714 Kensington here in Missoula and can be reached at 406-542-1025 Ext 1001

Listen to Montain Broadcasting on the following Radio Stations

KMSO Mountain 102.5

and Mountain 106.3 KHDV The Drive 107.9

and The Drive 103.7

Visit Mountain Broadcastin and Digital online at

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