Tailgate Trouble

You’re riding on the highway on your way home after a long day at work. You are traveling in the right hand lane as you come up behind a large delivery truck. There are cars approaching in the left lane from behind that prevent you from passing the truck, so you stay in the right-hand lane until the cars pass. You know that riding behind large vehicles inhibits visibility, but you stay close behind the truck in anticipation of the pass.

Suddenly, the truck swerves to the left. You have less than a second to comprehend why the truck driver was swerving before a five-foot piece of steel appears from between the truck’s rear wheels. You react as quickly as you can, but there isn’t time enough to swerve around the object.

Knowing that impact is imminent, you rise off the seat just before your front wheel whacks the steel and bounces over. The rear tire hits and causes the back of the motorcycle to jump into the air. On landing, your bike becomes unstable as the handlebars slap from one steering lock to the other, but miraculously, you find yourself still upright with the bike running straight.

After a brief moment of relief you recognize a strange feeling in your bike’s handling. You carefully direct the bike to the breakdown lane to discover that you have a flat front tire.

You were right to be wary of the truck’s affect on visibility. But, you didn’t heed the potential for danger while you were waiting to pass. You would have been better off hanging back from the truck so you could see potential roadway hazards, as well as cars ahead that may be stopping quickly. With ample following distance you would have likely had time to swerve around the metal obstacle.

You were smart to rise off the seat before impacting the hazard and your ability to regain control was impressive, if not just lucky. But, the result of running over the object caused a flat tire, which is another serious hazard. Lesson learned.

copyright Ken Condon

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