Hilltop Hazard

You are enjoying the unfamiliar New England countryside during a visit with friends as part of your cross-country tour. Unlike the flat terrain you are accustomed to, this road twists and undulates up and down beneath a canopy of dense trees. Many of the hills crest in the middle of corners, making them especially tricky.You are a bit nervous about the corners that disappear over the hills, which make it very difficult to see far enough ahead.
The power lines and trees give some indication of which way the road is about to go, but you notice that these clues aren’t always reliable, so you ride slowly. After a while, you feel more confident and resume a more brisk pace, matching the rapid pace driven by the locals.As you begin to turn left over one hillcrest, you notice the roof of a small pickup truck ascending the other side toward you. You suddenly realize that the driver is drifting into your lane.
You quickly swerve to the right. The driver notices his error and swerves hard away from you. His maneuver in combination you’re your swerve results in the truck’s front bumper passing within a foot of your rear tire. You are a bit shaken, but you continue your ride with a new respect for the dangers of blind hills.While you were smart to be cautious in unfamiliar terrain, you weren’t anticipating one of the most dangerous hazards of hilly roadways; that of errant drivers cresting hills in your lane. Next time, be sure to ride nearer the center of your lane to avoiding oncoming drivers as well as other possible roadside hazards that may appear over the hill. To gain a smidgen more sight distance, sit up tall before hills or even raise slightly off the seat. Any early advantage you have in spotting hilltop hazards is a real benefit.

copyright Ken Condon

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