OFF THE WIRE
“THE BEST AND CHEAPEST INSURANCE YOU CAN GET…….”
By John Del Santo
“A 54-year-old motorcyclist died in a highway accident near Julian Saturday when he slammed on his brakes to avoid rear-ending another motorcycle, was thrown to the pavement in the oncoming lane of traffic where he was run over and killed by a third motorcycle.”
“A motorcyclist was following a truck through Ramona that was pulling a tall utility trailer. When the traffic came to a stop, the rider saw that the trailer did not have brake lights…..too late. She swerved out over the yellow line to avoid the trailer, into the path of two lanes of oncoming traffic. Luck was on everyone’s side, because there was no collision. The rider swears to this day that the whole situation was the fault of the driver who did not have brake lights on their trailer.”
“There was a group of riders heading Northbound on the I-15 Freeway, which is four lanes wide at this point. The Lead bike slowed down a bit to avoid something in the road. The second bike slowed down a little more, the third bike slowed down even more……and the next five bikes smashed into each other and were spread all over the Freeway.”
On each of these collisions, If the riders had a full two-second following distance from the vehicle in front of them, the collisions would probably have not occurred. Period. When the bike or vehicle in front of you passes a crack in the concrete or a shadow or some type of mark……and you count “one thousand and one, one thousand and two” and then you pass that mark, you have a two- second following distance. At that point, no matter what happens around you, you have an excellent chance of not being involved in it….You will have time and room to slow, brake, or move someplace else that is safe.
People will tell you “Yeah, But, you can’t do that in rush hour traffic”….Of course we can…..that’s when we need it the most ! Watch the professionals…watch the big tractor trailers, they leave tons of room ! Many utility trailers or boat trailers have no brake lights or poor brake lights. Following one of them, especially when they are tall and block your view of forward traffic, is a good time to keep a minimum of three seconds following distance. Folks like me who have aged into the Grey Panther Brigade, should automatically keep at least three seconds distance. Ya’ can’t fool Mother Nature.
Riding with a group, or with club members, or with friends still requires a full following distance….Physics and Friendship are two different things, that don’t cancel out the need for the other. We want to “bond” with our brother or sister riders, but we would rather that the “bonding” did not include a plaster cast or lying in a hospital bed near each other.
A good following distance is the best and cheapest insurance that you can get….and it’s yours for the taking ! Following distance is like money…..You can never have too much of it, but if you have a little less than you need you can be in trouble !
John Del Santo
( 619 ) 223 - 0421