Be Ready for Anything - it'll happen
You have to be ready for anything, because drivers out there on the road won't disappoint you when it comes to crazy, foolish, dangerous and downright stupid maneuvers.
Here is my philosophy about driving; anyone will do anything, anywhere at anytime. I know it sounds like a very pessimistic attitude, but it's not. It's a very realistic attitude backed up by experience.
Read the stories I have to tell and then decide if anyone, anything, anywhere and anytime is an exaggeration or an apt description.
Making a Pot of Coffee
My good friend and neighbor is a retired highway patrol officer. He responded to the scene of an accident where a motor home went off the road and disintegrated in the median. Both the driver and his wife survived with minor injuries, but the new motor home (with less than 90 miles on the odometer) was completely demolished.
The driver explained that he had put the cruise control on and went to the back to make a pot of coffee, and the vehicle went off the road. The driver believed that cruise control not only set the speed but steered the vehicle as well. And, of course this would also require belief that the vehicle would know when to stop and avoid hazards as well.
If that's not unusual enough, think about his wife who sat there and didn't put up an argument about him leaving the driver seat as they cruised down the interstate at 70 miles per hour.
Be ready for anything, including folks that buy a new motor home and don't understand that it doesn't drive itself when you put the cruise control on.
Motorcyclists are Keen on Safety
I ride motorcycles, so you know that I'm as sensitive about bad drivers as anyone can be. You have no vehicle body around you for protection and there's not seat belt or air bag to help keep you safe.
While merging onto the interstate using a cloverleaf that brought two interstates together, I saw that I was going to meet up with another motorcyclist in the right lane. He and his woman were tooling along and merged left to allow me to enter the interstate. I thought this was very considerate and showed a "heads up" rider.
Then, he proved me wrong by darting from the left lane across the right lane to the exit, passing on a collision course with my front wheel. I quickly applied the front brake for just a moment to reduce my forward travel. This allowed his rear wheel to miss my front wheel by inches.
If we had hit, both the bikes would have gone down. After seeing how he switched lanes to let me enter, I had no clue that he wanted to exit. If he did, then the smart thing would have been to signal and adjust speed to allow me to blend.
No signal of his intentions, and no memory either for the instant he remembered he wanted to exit, he did. I like to be ready for anything, and I'm very glad that I was ready on the front brake for this daring duo without helmets.
Left Turn, Everybody Knows
A rancher puttering down the highway turned left into his pasture just as an out of town driver was passing him. When the highway patrol asked whether he had signaled his left turn, he simply replied, "No I did not. Every morning for the last 20 years I've been turning into this pasture; everyone knows that."
Apparently the out of state visitors just didn't get the word. Be ready for anything because your fellow driver wont' let you down.
I Always Have Right of Way
My mother was riding along with a friend who simply darted down the interstate without a care about merging drivers. Her explanation was that she had the right of way - true.
The next experience my mother had was merging onto the interstate with the same friend. And, as you probably guessed, she simply zipped down the entrance ramp without a care about drivers on the interstate. Her explanation was that they had to yield to her - false.
Be ready for anything, even drivers that always have the right of way.
Quiet, I'm Wildlife Watching
A Wyoming Highway Patrol officer came over a rise only to find a pickup truck stopped in the road just on the other side of the rise. The rise hid the stopped vehicle from sight until the officer got over the top.
The officer slammed on the brakes, narrowly avoiding a collision. He exited the patrol car and walked up to the driver of the pickup who had his window rolled down, engine running and studying something alongside of the road. The officer demanded to know what the man was doing stopped in the middle of the road.
"Quiet" he said, "you'll scare off the antelope."
The man had stopped in the middle of the road in a blind spot to watch a small herd of antelope.
Be ready for anything, including those who stop in the middle of the road to do a little nature watching.
Trust Me, I'm a Professional
I've learned to be ready for anything when it comes to professional truck drivers as well. If they're not cutting you off just before you pass them, then they're taking a minute or two to pass a fellow truck driver on a grade at perhaps one mile per hour faster than the truck they're passing.
While in New Mexico, I started traveling very early one morning on a frosty road. Not trusting the traction offered by the road, I carefully tested my brakes several times and confirmed that although the speed limit was 65 miles per hour, I could only travel safely at 45 miles per hour.
The truck drivers weren't happy with me in the right hand lane going a slower and safer speed. One of the two that passed me that morning blasted me with his air horn. I wished them luck as they shot past me doing at least 65 miles per hour.
About twenty minutes later, there they were, about two miles apart from one another, one jack knifed in the median, and one with tractor and trailer on their sides in the middle of the median.
I'll bet as they lost control of their big rigs that it dawned on them why I was traveling so much slower on the frosty road.
Be ready for anything, including other drivers, even professional drivers, who aren't. The more you can be ready for anything, the better chance you have of reacting properly and staying out of harm's way.
Done with Be Ready for Anything, back to Safe Driving