As a Tennessee motorist, you may know about antilock braking systems and how they help to improve the safety of vehicles on the road. Yet you may not know that these braking systems can mean life or death to motorcyclists. Whether you are a motorcyclist yourself or simply share the road with motor bikes, it is helpful to know how motorcycle braking systems work and how to react in a situation where a motorcycle needs to stop short.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, motorcycles that are equipped with antilock braking systems are 31 percent less likely to be involved in deadly motorcycle accidents than those models that do not have this safety mechanism. Antilock braking systems work by preventing motorcycle tires from locking up, which in turn may help you avoid a disastrous fall, potential injury and possible death. When the wheels of your motorcycle begin to lock up, the ABS system will stop the tires rotations until it feels as though the tires’ traction is fully restored. Traditional braking systems, on the other hand, can act as a potential hazard when your tires hit uneven terrain, bad weather conditions or otherwise poor road conditions.

Although antilock braking systems reduce the likelihood that you will be involved in a fatal motorcycle accident, studies show that models with combined braking systems are even safer. As a result of these studies, IIHS is pushing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to require the installation of antilock braking systems on all motorcycles.