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Early or Late

Some people are always early when they get somewhere they need to be. You almost can count on them to be the first ones to arrive at any function. These people normally budget extra time just for travel in case anything unexpected delays them. They seem to subscribe to the theory that if you’re not early, you’re late.

Some folks are habitually late for everything. They often show up well after the function has started. These folks tend to lead a rather hectic life and they usually have a myriad of excuses to explain away their tardiness. Most likely they will be late for their own funerals.

"The timing of when you execute your decision can affect the risk you face as you’re riding."

Then we should attempt to identify how we got to where we are by evaluating our riding style. Are we becoming aggressive on the road? Are we beginning to challenge other traffic at intersections or push our limits as we sweep through curves? Have we become pre-occupied with other thoughts as we ride? Maybe stress from work or pressures from home have crept into our mind as we travel down the road. Are we still focused on our riding or have we been quietly lulled into a state of complacency on the isolated back road drifting along?

Normally you would want to turn them on early to let everyone know what you’re about to do. With your smaller profile on the road, you know you are harder to see in traffic so you want to do whatever you can to communicate with the vehicles around you. Letting other drivers know that you are planning to turn at the next corner is a good thing. Your motorcycle’s turn signal lights are smaller than the directional lights on other cars and trucks, so a few extra flashes before you commit to your turn might help drivers know your intentions.<

You also need to make sure that other drivers can see your turn signals. Sometimes overly bright lighting on the front of a motorcycle can wash out or hide your front signals. It might be worthwhile to have someone sit on your bike in your driveway with the lights you normally have on when riding. Walk to the end of your driveway and look at the front of your motorcycle as they turn on your directional signal. Can you see them?

Is always turning your turn signals on early a good thing? In most cases the answer is clearly yes. But what if you will be passing a business driveway just before the corner? With many drug stores and fast food restaurants popping up on corner real estate, the likelihood of a business entrance/exit being near an intersection is pretty high in many commercial areas.

Often you need to think like a driver and this is one of those times. If you signal for your upcoming turn at the corner before you pass the driveway, could the driver waiting to exit with their burger and fries think you were planning to stop for food too and pull out in front of you? This misunderstanding of your intentions could easily be reinforced because you’re probably slowing for the corner already. This might be a situation where delaying the signaling of your plans could be in your best interests.

Of course as difficult as it is for drivers to accurately determine your distance or speed because of your smaller profile on the road, it may be a good idea to expect them to think they have enough time and pull out anyway. Turning on your signal too early may just invite that to happen.

The potential impact of seemingly benign decisions like signaling, clearly show how important it is to be thinking every minute of your ride. The more you use your mind to adjust to what’s happening around you to avoid problems, the less you’ll have to rely on your physical skills to get you out of trouble.  And that can determine whether you’ll be early or late in arriving at your destination.

Ride Smart! Ride Safe!