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Dodging the Roadkill: Reading Traffic

Dodging the Roadkill - A Biker's JourneyClarksville, TN – One of the first things I ever noticed about riding a motorcycle was what I saw other drivers doing behind the wheel.  Having to be so aware of my surroundings, I’m able to see what other motorists are doing, BESIDES driving their vehicle.

I guess it’s just the nature of the beast.  You MUST keep your eyes out for danger.  I learned very quickly that most all of the other traffic was driving distracted.  And I don’t just mean the cell phone.  

Everything from putting on makeup, to holding a sandwich in one hand and a drink in the other.  It just seems to be the way of the world, that we must be “multi tasking” while driving.  It sucks for bikers!  

Driving in Traffic. (Brett Sayles, Pexels)
Driving in Traffic. (Brett Sayles, Pexels)

Safety on the road is dependent on EVERYBODY being at their best.  The problem is, most drivers aren’t.  Whether its drugs or alcohol, or just being behind the wheel for too long, most of the other traffic we encounter is impaired in some way. 

Not all, but MOST!

As a biker, we all realize that it’s incumbent on us to be at our best.  AT. ALL. TIMES!

With that said, I’ve noticed that I’ve been able to “read” the other traffic pretty good.  It’s uncanny, and I’m sure you do it too, but I can almost always spot the vehicle on the cell phone, and not by just seeing them hold it to their ear.  They’re so busy with their phone call, they just hang out in the left lane, paying no attention to their speed, and before you know it, they’re leading a parade down the interstate.

Cell phone drivers are also swervers.  They drift from side to side.  The danger in that is if they’re in ONCOMING traffic.  It’s something I watch very carefully.  That’s all I need is for some idiot to drift into my lane.

I can also predict which vehicle is going to merge into my lane without giving me fair warning. I don’t know if that’s the “biker instinct” or if it’s from putting thousands of miles on my bike that helps me “read” the other cars, but I’m sure you recognize it too. 

We MUST be diligent!  It’s life or death sometimes. 

Almost invariably, I know that the 18 wheeler is coming into my lane, whether he signals or not.  If he signals, that’s a bonus, because he’s coming whether I let him or not.

The ones that bother me the most are the cars that pull out in front of me, typically on a two lane road, and I’m just fifty yards up the road, and they pull straight out in front of me, then slow down to turn immediately.

THAT CHAPS MY ASS!

But I can “read” those cars that are going to do it, so I’m able to slow down and just deal with it.  As I’ve blogged before, I do my best not to let all the other traffic ruin my day, or put me in a bad mood.  It’s draining.  And at the end of a day’s travel, I’m beat.  Mentally and physically. Letting other traffic put me in a bad mood isn’t worth it.  I know it’s dangerous out there, and I deal with it. 

We had three fatalities in my area this past weekend, and it’s the constant reminder that being a biker is dangerous.  It keeps me sharp.  With miles comes experience and the ability to “read” the other vehicles on the road.  Whether it’s the interstate or a back country road.

If I live to be 100, I will never understand why so many drivers think that texting and driving is safe.  Why so many people don’t believe they’re distracted.  I just can’t wrap my brain around something so obvious and stupid, but EVERYBODY is on their damn phone!

Of course we’ve been preaching the dangers of drinking and driving for decades and nobody seems to be paying attention to that either, so I guess it’s no surprise.

Being a biker is an awesome experience.  There’s just nothing else like it.  I won’t live my life in fear and I’ll ride until I die! 

So please, drive safe and keep your eyes out for us.  

Be safe my brothers and sisters!

**photo credit/Brett Sayles from Pexels

Hank Bonecutter
Hank Bonecutterhttp://www.clarksvillesmotorcycle.com/
Hank Bonecutter is a retired broadcaster and media consultant based in Clarksville, Tennessee. His career includes stints at WKDA/WKDF and WKQB Rock 106FM, WLAC-AM in Nashville. He concluded his career as owner/talk show host at WJZM-AM in Clarksville. Currently the President of Bonehead Promotions, he's an advertising consultant and media strategist. An avid motorcyclist, Hank blogs about his travels exclusively at www.clarksvillemotorcycle.com and www.clarksvilleonline.com You can follow Hank on on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/dodgintheroadkill/, on Twitter at https://twitter.com/?lang=en, and Instagram https://www.instagram.com/dodgetheroadkill/?hl=en  
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