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Blaming Others

The “Blame Game” has grown in popularity these days. It appears to be human nature for people to always attribute their mistakes to someone else. When something goes wrong, folks start looking for somebody to blame. “Who screwed this project up?” “Why didn’t someone tell me I couldn’t do this?” The political parties point fingers at each other for any problems that come up. The theme seems to be that rather than address issues, many are more interested in finding out who's at fault.

The newspapers get in on the action as well. Headlines scream, “Snowstorm Causes 37 Accidents” or “30 Car Pile-up Caused by Heavy Fog.” Neither the snow nor fog produced these crashes. They were the result of drivers not adjusting their driving for the less than ideal driving conditions. But then it also seems common for people not to accept any culpability for their actions.

We even hear the blame game being played among motorcyclists. Many bikers are quick to tell you that car drivers don’t care about motorcycles on the road. We’ve all seen the crazy things motorists do while they’re supposed to be controlling their vehicles including talking and texting, eating and drinking, putting on makeup, reading books, using their computer and adjusting their GPS.

Riders chastise motorists for not seeing or looking for motorcycles in traffic. They accuse drivers of cutting them off and pulling out in front of them. And they are correct because most multivehicle crashes involving motorcycles are due to motorists violating the right of way of the rider.

But placing blame doesn’t solve the problem. As good as it might feel to point the finger at others on the road, it doesn’t change the situation. We have to accept responsibility for fixing the problem. We need to ask what we can do to mitigate the situations we encounter on the road. We can’t control what others do while they’re driving.

We can, however, take on the challenge of minimizing the effects their actions have on us. Giving ourselves more time and space can provide more room to respond to what others do. Expecting drivers to be distracted or oblivious of our presence and looking further ahead to see their actions sooner will help us to ensure we don’t get caught up in their foolishness.

The earlier we can see potential problems developing, the more time we have to make them a non-issue for us. And the less we have to rely on our physical skills to get us out of trouble. We need to focus on crash prevention and avoidance regardless of who might create the situation we’re facing. We have to ask ourselves what we can do to avoid the hazard altogether.

Shifting the blame to other drivers doesn’t solve the problem. The situations we avoid might be someone else’s fault, but we’re too vulnerable to settle for just fixing culpability. It doesn’t seem fair that we have to assume this extra responsibility, but then the difference in what we have to lose in a crash isn’t fair either. The blame game…So easy to play and nearly impossible to win.

Ride Smart! Ride Safe!