Kind of hard to answer this in general, but are you keeping your eyes up? Don't look down, especially when <5mph. Find an object in the medium distance that's basically aligned with the direction you're intending to go, and fix your eyes on that. The old "you go where you look" maxim works for the vertical plane as well as the horizontal.
As far as protection goes, I don't have any experience with frame sliders. I see though that SW Motech makes crash bars for the GSF1200S. I had SW Motech crash bars on a V-Strom I used to have; they worked well. (Don't ask me how I know