RIDING TIP: Dealing With Distracted Drivers

May 23, 2020 Tags: , , ,
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RIDING TIP:  Dealing With Distracted Drivers

We all see it.  Drivers on their phone, slamming their coffees in the morning, fiddling with the stereo to get that perfect mix going, and placing the last minute touch ups on their makeup.  With all these distractions and more, it is amazing we can make it to our destination.  And our cognitive distractions as drivers only look to get worse as more and more technology comes our way.

So how do we as motorcycle riders cope?


Before we even swing a leg over our motorcycle, we want to make sure we have the right mindset for handling this ridiculous environment.

For starters, we recommend pretending that we’re invisible before we even mount the bike.  That’s right, BEFORE we get on.  Pretend like we have a cloaking device on our motorcycle that prevents us from being seen by motorists  In reality, there is a fair amount of truth in the statement.  Cognitive distractions and biological limitations collude to make our lives on the roadway challenging.  By starting in this frame of mind, we will have a much easier time on the road.   Why?  Think of it this way:  expectations are future resentments.  If we expect all motorists to see us and they don’t, what kind of emotion does that create?  There is enough YouTube footage of petulant motorcyclists breaking car mirrors because the motorist didn’t see them.  What kind of emotion is created when you EXPECT them to NOT see you?  We’re much quicker to adapt, improvise, and overcome.

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Now that we think we’re invisible, we need to make sure we SEE other traffic.  The key being that we maintain a 360 degree situational awareness while riding; especially at intersections.  We’ve talked about the value to having an overarching riding strategy before, but that doesn’t make our words here any less valuable.  It is our responsibility to see and be seen.  Making sure to predict the worst to get the best results is key.

In the case of distracted drivers once they’re identified, we need to take actions to create the largest amount of safety margin possible – especially if they’re tailgating– while identifying various escape paths.    You may find it necessary, in extreme cases, to just pull off the road or select a different roadway to get away from dangerous distracted driving offenders.

Being accountable for your safety and taking action can mean the difference between you making it home or being in their distracted driving PSA when they get out of jail.  Which do you prefer?

For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE

Bill Seltzer Yamaha FJ-09Bill Seltzer has been a Motorcycle Safety Foundation RiderCoach since 2003 and a Total Control Advanced Riding Instructor since 2011.  He currently serves as the Marketing Director for TEAM Arizona and is a member of the Arizona Strategic Highway Safety Planning committee.  Have questions or comments about the article?  Email him: Bill@MotorcycleTraining.com

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