I don't want to take up too much of your time here, but I'm hoping that just by reading this article, a few of these facts will stay in the back of your head when you're on the road this summer.

Nationwide in 2015, almost 5,000 motorcycle riders and passengers were killed in fatal accidents on the road, according to the National Safety Council. In Minnesota? 61.

Now obviously, both of those figures are way too high. And they happen for a number of reasons: drunk driving, distracted driving, speeding, or general traffic accidents. Sometimes it's easy to forget just how powerful our vehicles are, and the responsibility that come with being able to drive them on our roads and highways. So when you're on the road this month (and beyond), try to keep these things in mind:

1. When You're On The Road, It's Not All About You

This is one thing I definitely need to remind myself from time to time. We've all been there. We're late for an appointment, but the car ahead of you is going so slow. Every delay or infraction can seem like a personal affront. But remember that there are thousands of other people just like you trying to get somewhere. We all have things going on in our daily lives, but thinking only about yourself can make it easy to forget that there are other people on the road. For that matter...

2. Live In The Present

It's so easy to think about where we have to be and what we have to do when we get there. While you can't completely disregard those thoughts, just remember that you're currently operating a machine that on average weighs about two tons. This works for me: Occasionally think to yourself, What am I doing right now? That will bring everything into focus, and helps you concentrate on what you should be doing.

3. Be Aware Of Your Front, Back, Left, And Right Sides

Definitely don't drive like you're Jason Bourne, but having a keen awareness of what's around you while you're driving will make you feel like you have the skill set of an international spy. Motorcyclists can sometimes be hard to spot, which is why it's important to know your surroundings at all times.

4. A Text Or Phone Notification Is Never More Important Than Focusing On Driving

If it's absolutely urgent, just pull over and respond. Not a big deal. Not to go off on a tangent, but we live in a society where we're almost expected to be on demand 24/7. Doesn't that kind of suck? Make your vehicle a sacred time when you can get away from your phone. It can make driving a much more relaxing experience, and can actually make you feel like you're taking the power back from your phone. Besides, someone's feelings getting hurt over you not immediately responding to a text or e-mail is still better than actually hurting someone.

5. There's Never An Excuse For Drunk Driving, Especially Now That Services Like Uber and Lyft Are In Rochester

It's easier than ever to get a safe ride home. It's not worth the risk of hurting someone or getting into legal trouble when you could have just ordered a $10-20 cab.

Hopefully those help. If you want to read more, you can head to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's official website. Good luck out there!

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