BCF Monthly Tip 06 Say YES to bad driving
Hey everyone, this is Ax, founder of Be Crash Free. This month riding tip is “Say YES too bad driving” (and to bad roads and to bad luck.) “Okay, Ax, what the Hell? What do you mean, say Yes to bad driving?” Fair question. What I mean is to readily accept - without resistance - what is happening. When we resist that information, like saying to ourselves, “Well that's not right” or “He's not supposed to be in my lane,” we lose valuable time and we are in a very real sense resisting - and maybe even rejecting - the reality of our situation. I'm sure you've heard the Henry Ford quote, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right?” He was onto something about how powerful our mind can be when it comes to a decision. When we say to ourselves, “Oh, I can't do that” we make ourselves less likely to ever do it. In a similar way, saying “Oh, that car shouldn't be turning in front of me,” and especially if we get upset at the car or emotionally engaged with the driver, we not only waste that time, but our brains are less able to process the information and respond to the reality of the situation.
I believe that successfully managing our motorcycles in traffic relies on Reality, Reason, and Judgment (and in that order).
REALITY - What I mean by reality is we learn about the physical world around us, through our senses, primarily what we see and what we hear. Where the other traffic is, what they're doing, the road surface itself, etc.
REASON - This is where we apply our knowledge, our education, our training and logic to that reality.
JUDGMENT - This is making a choice for action based on the application of our knowledge and logic to the reality of our situation.
If we delay or resist or reject the reality of the situation, the reason and judgment just don't happen…or at least they don't happen very well.
So, say yes quickly and without emotion to reality, to what's happening.
Yes, that car is changing lanes into my space.
Yes, the oncoming driver is turning left.
Yes, that's gravel in the road, in the middle of the turn, and
Yes, it's starting to rain or hail or snow.
The intent behind that reality - why a driver might be doing something - is generally not relevant to applying reason and judgment to the situation, and it can get in the way of making good choices for action. Getting emotionally worked up about the driver - what kind of person they are, what they're trying to do (have you ever said to yourself ‘they were trying to hit me?’), or whether they hate motorcycles or not - is a fool's errand. I mean in your life, have you made better or worse choices when you were mad? Mine have been worse…always! I suspect it's the same for most people.
I love that quote “If you speak when angry, you'll give the greatest speech you'll ever regret.” And I believe riding angry can have similar results. So, out there on the roads, our responsibility is for us…and for us not to crash. In other words, we need to win the encounter by not crashing. Now, that doesn't mean anyone else needs to lose the encounter. We just need to win - we do not need to somehow defeat, punish the other driver, or in some way “teach them a lesson” for their misdeeds out there. And we won't win in any battle of car versus motorcycle anyway, so we might as well not try.
Let's not waste our mental energy and focus on the other drivers. Let those people go and give them the benefit of the doubt that they're good people who are doing the best they can and may have made a mistake. A little grace goes a long way. Why? It's not even for their benefit. It's for our benefit. The more we save our mental energy and we keep our emotions under control, the more we can focus on our efforts to quickly assess our reality (what's happening around us), apply our reason, and make good judgments. That's how we ride crash free.
Thanks for watching. Remember to say YES to bad driving, and Be Crash Free.