Tight Squeezes

You’re on your way home from work on the hottest day of the year. Traffic is moving slowly and the heat coming off your motorcycle’s engine is becoming oppressive. You are in the middle of a line of cars and trucks approaching an intersection. The lane is lined with cones to direct traffic through nearby construction.

The mid-afternoon sun is intense and you’re losing your cool as traffic creeps glacially forward. As you near the intersection, you decide to get moving by threading between the traffic and right side road edge. As you move forward alongside a semi-truck you notice the truck moving into your path.

The open lane you hoped to dart through is closing quickly. You swerve slightly to the right away from the trailer, but the cones and dirt lining the road leave little room to continue. Your front wheel is about to be pinched by the truck’s rear wheel so you chop the throttle and grab the brakes. The next thing you know you’re sliding off the road into the dirt with cones flying everywhere.

In an effort to find relief from the traffic congestion and heat you saw an opening and decided to take it. You didn’t count on the trucker having the same idea. The dirty road and narrowing lanes caused by the construction should have triggered extra caution. Your selected path around the truck was located in his blind spot where the driver had little chance of seeing you. It’s not called the “No Zone” for nothing.

When he made his move, you were already committed An evasive maneuver was required. Unfortunately, the road surface was not conducive to hard braking which caused your tires to skid and your motorcycle to fall.

Next time, consider an alternative route to avoid the heaviest traffic and any construction zones. If that’s not possible, be patient and select opportunities to move through traffic with more consideration to the possibility of an unexpected lane change. And if a quick braking maneuver is necessary, favor the rear brake when traction is very limited.

copyright Ken Condon

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