- Created: 12 March 2008
Filtering through traffic is a deeply satisfying feeling as cars are so often gridlocked in towns today, but there are dangers too. Here’s some basic tips for all you novice commuters..
First, cover the brakes and clutch in readiness for sudden hazards. Even trickling between cars and vans in second or third gear at 30-ish mph allows you very little time to react should someone decide to open their door to get out of their vehicle. So every second counts when reaching for those brakes in an emergency – minimise that reaction time by keeping your right boot hovering over the brake pedal, fingers near the front brake and clutch lever too.
Secondly, think lateral!
Why is traffic stopped here – is it the usual jam for these lights, or possibly an accident ahead? Is traffic filtering into two, or one lane, on a motorway? If so, you may well end up squeezed by an artic trying to get into another lane whilst you are filtering merrily up the middle of two lines of traffic. Not nice.
Think ahead; look for wider gaps, moving traffic, or traffic attempting to switch lanes, maybe merge for roadworks – or even pull a U-turn if it looks like an accident has caused a blockage. Think about this; people a mere five or six cars ahead will probably not see you – even with your headlight on – if they have been stationary for a while.
Because they are changing tapes, or radio stations, yakking on their mobiles, eating junk food, feeding babies or god knows what else. Boredom soon distracts the jammed driver, so be aware that they may well have not noticed you whatsoever.
Don’t assume anything and don’t get angry if they don’t move over to let you squeeze a fully laden Gold Wing past their expensive wing mirrors.
Relax, stay calm and keep looking and planning ahead in jammed traffic. It looks safe because it is moving at a snail’s pace, but the sheer volume of people around you makes lane filtering a significant potential hazard – the more people you pass, the more you run the risk of encountering a `lane-hopper’ or similar joker.
And watch those mirrors – a clash could cost you ££££s! today, but there are dangers too. Here’s some basic tips for all you novice commuters..