-— Motorcycle Consumer News
By Ken Condon
You're enjoying an afternoon cruise on a rural roadway that rises and descends up and down the gently rolling landscape. Even though there is a relatively light traffic you are happy that the road features passing lanes on the up hill portions that allow you to ride at your own pace. One such passing lane appears in the distance as you approach a slower moving Jeep. You calculate that you must increase speed if you are to pass the vehicle before the passing lane disappears and turns back into a single lane road.
You accelerate as planned, but you begin to question whether there is really enough time to overtake the Jeep. You accelerate harder, but your heavy cruiser is hard-pressed to get by. To add to your stress, it seems as though the driver is speeding up.
As you near the Jeep's left rear wheel you see the road sign warning of the lane drop. It becomes obvious that the Jeep driver sees the warning sign, too, because he begins to move left into your path. You are forced to swerve left almost into the oncoming lane. You squeeze by just in time, but you are a bit shaken by the close call.
Safe passing requires accurate judgment. If your calculations indicate that the pass will be close, you're often better off aborting the maneuver. It is very tempting to speed up to avoid being struck behind a slower vehicle until another opportunity arises, but accelerating can be a risky decision. Next time, consider that it may be smarter to abandon the pass and wait for another opportunity.
You must also be very aware of your visibility. It is imperative to recognize when drivers might not see you as you approach their blind spot. In the case of the Jeep, the driver started moving left unexpectedly because you were hidden in his blind spot next to his rear wheel. Avoid his risky area especially when you know the driver could move over at any time.