Tuesday, 18 December 2007

For god's sake, keep your eyes open!

It is a great and noble truth that a leopard does not easily change its spots. This gives an advantage to those who realise it, by allowing you to, reasonably confidently, predict the behaviour of complete strangers based upon how they've just been behaving. Or, any other evidence that comes to hand.

And as anybody who pays attention to being a road user knows, reading the traffic and other people's intentions is a vital part of staying alive and comfortable. As a motorcyclist, I am keenly aware of this even more.

Take this morning. Approaching a large multi lane roundabout, I noticed that the car to the right of me has the front of the bonnet staved in and pushed back, as though it had run under the back of a truck, but just not enough to damage anything vital. So I kept my eye on that car, and when the traffic passed and we could set off, I was cautious.

Which was good, because he zoomed off, cut it very fine missing the traffic going across the other way, and pulled in front of me without indicating, braking very late and hard behind the trunk in front of both of us.

Which, as I slipped sideways into a different lane and went sailing off up the hill and away, gave me a warm glow of satisfaction that I could guess how he had damaged his car, and had avoided having to take any evasive manoeuvres myself.

There's a lot of argument over what's the most important factor in the road toll, but from personal observation simply not paying attention is a good candidate for the top spot.

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