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You can the entire collection of Safety Tip articles in a 33 Megabyte PDF Portfolio

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 Motorcycle Safety
 Roadcraft
 Roadcraft, an introduction
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SkootchNC
Male Advanced Member
1063 Posts
[Mentor]


raleigh, north carolina
USA

Harley-Davidson

road glide

Posted - 06/11/2009 :  5:55 AM
quote:
Originally posted by Nigel A

My perception is that in general our roads are much narrower than yours

But if people are really likely to dash straight across a junction from the other side then, in my book, you really do have issues to deal with.

Out of interest, is it in Florida that they will procecute for any sign of aggressive driving behaviour? If so that's no bad thing




Generally, in the states, even in crowed narrow streets, or roadways are much larger, than the streets, I encountered while station in England (RAF Alconbury, Huntingdon)

Where I live, animals, darting out from wooded areas pose a large threat, as do cars, approaching intersection, or driveways, and not looking, before entering the roadway, so YES.... we do have issues

Many states have "anti-aggressive driving" laws, whether they are enforced, is another matter.

Perhaps the biggest difference is the attitude of the population as a whole. In the states, we have this belief the driving is a GOD-given right. Children, upon reaching a given age (in NC it's 16 years old) are allowed to get a license. Doting parents, often give their children vehicles, the child is not capable of operating. Sports cars,sports bikes, SUVs, the scariest place you can drive by, is an American High School, at the end of a school day
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Nigel A
Male Junior Member
68 Posts


TAUNTON, Somerset
United Kingdom

(None)

Formerly BMW 80RT

Posted - 06/11/2009 :  12:10 PM
Many thanks, SkootchNC. That was very informative.

It seems to me from what you have said that it is just as important in the States to keep buffer, or safety, zones around you as it is for us over here.

I look forward to reading any other inputs which others make, presumably from different parts of the States.

Whilst, in principle, a driving licence is not a god given right over here I feel that many people think, as close as dam it, that it probably is. It's the old ego based adage that you might criticise a man's wife, but you can't critisise his driving'. Not that I might want to criticise his wife in the first place!


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rioguy
Ex-Member

Posted - 06/12/2009 :  9:58 AM
This morning I was reading a newsletter on exercise and a phrase jumped out at me.

quote:
Concentrate on your areas of weakness and your areas of strength will improve. Keep a log after each ride...


The context is if an area of the body is sore after riding then focus on exercises that develop that area.

One could apply this to a day to day ride. If there is an area of a ride that presents a difficulty, write it down in a log after the ride. Then concentrate on that area.

Now, I realize concentrate is a bad word. So let's put it in a little more context. Let's say a new rider is having trouble making right turns at an intersection. This was a problem I had.

The solution was to go to a parking lot where it was perfectly ok to spend more time thinking about the mechanics of a right turn.

Roadcraft recommends learning a new skill and then practicing. Rather than learning a complex new skill all at once, it can be broken down into small pieces and practiced in a way that doesn't result in task saturation and loss of situational awareness.

For instance, in the information phase prior to a curve, one could make sure they carefully analyze the curve using all available information. Advisory signs, lines of telephone poles paralleling the road, how much of the curve you can see, and anything else that is available. If task saturation begins to occur, just revert to your old way.

In the city, I'm pretty good about checking intersections, but I'm less conscientious about checking driveways and alleys between intersections. So in a way that doesn't interfere with the big picture, I am more consciously checking these.

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rioguy
Ex-Member

Posted - 06/13/2009 :  6:33 AM
I found this description of a crash on another forum. In my opinion, the rider positioned himself poorly. Thoughts?

Added: The reason it's in this thread and not the accident thread is there are at least three failures as defined by the Roadcraft system.

1. Positioning
2. Attitude towards other drivers
3. Unwillingness to accept responsibility for the crash. (Not legal responsibility, that's a different issue.)

quote:
Doing 40-45 (45 mph zone) in right hand lane of a 6 lane highway. My lane is clear and I am watching this big black SUV a car length ahead in the left lane next to me. The stupid moron with no signal or nothing swerves in front of me. I execute the best emergency stop I can, lean to the right to miss the dang thing and next thing I know I am sliding on the road.

Oddly, I was relaxed. Laid there for 15-20 minutes to make sure I felt no sharp pains anywhere and that I had full movement of arms and legs. Didn't black out and was amazingly clear headed. EMT arrived and checked me out. In their opinion I was fine but for the road burn (I will get to that in a bit) on my right arm and shoulder. They assured me there was nothing they would do differently at the ER that we couldn't do at home for treatment at a much lower cost.

State trooper questioned me and the guy who pulled out in front of me. The idiot was apologetic and I did shake his hand before I left the scene with my wife. He was terrified I think so I didn't say much except it could have been a lot worse. The guy who pulled out in front of me was cited for improper lane change. Trooper told me I handled the situation as best I could and that I was lucky I avoided hitting the SUV.

While I was laying in the road, I was thinking the bike was prolly trashed on the right side. Oddly enough, there was some minor scratches on the edge of the windshield, right mirror was knocked askew but is easily fixed. Front fender is bent to where it's almost touching the tire. There is some road rash on both pipes and the read right turn signal thing was scratched up. All in all, the bike fared better than I did. Dang thing is at the shop feeling no pain lol.

I was wearing a helmet, gloves and a pair of 2 layered pants. Helmet saved my life as I hit the street right in the temple area. Gloves show where right hand was scraped across the road. My right leg would have been very messed up with road rash if I hadn't been wearing those pants. I got a quarter-sized spot on my knee. A pretty huge knot on my right thigh and some tasty road burn on my right elbow area and a small hunk of meat gone from my forearm. I was wearing boots and suffered no harm to feet or ankles. Shoulder also has some slight road rash and will undoubtedly hurt tomorrow. I know I am going to hurt all over tomorrow but I think for a 48 yr old I took a pretty hard lick and came out okay.

To all my riding brothers and sisters who live in states where you don't have to wear a helmet: WEAR A STINKING HELMET!!!

Already replayed the incident in my mind a 1000 times, wondering if I could have done something different to avoid this accident. I wasn't in a hurry and was riding at a safe speed. I was watching the moron who pulled out in front of me yet he maneuvered so quickly in front of me that all I could do was brake and lean right.

Wife has taken her time, picked gravel out with tweezers and cleaned my wounds up nicely. Tomorrow is gonna hurt, but I'll be happy to endure it considering some of the alternatives.

Had the bike towed the shop where it will get fixed up and payed for by the SUV driver's insurance. Tow-truck driver told me, "I bet you gonna sell that bike after its fixed, aren't ya?" I shook my head and told the guy the accident wasn't my fault and there was no reason for me to stop riding. I need to heal up a bit but I will be chompin' at the bit to get back on her and ride.

Be safe out there folks. Watch those cagers like a hawk.
__________________
'07 Virago 250
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bachman1961
Male Advanced Member
2263 Posts
[Mentor]


colorado springs, co
USA

Honda

CB750 NightHawk

Posted - 06/13/2009 :  7:07 AM
quote:
Originally posted by rioguy

I found this description of a crash on another forum. In my opinion, the rider positioned himself poorly. Thoughts?

Added: The reason it's in this thread and not the accident thread is there are at least three failures as defined by the Roadcraft system.


I think he knows he could have done better. He says he was not speeding and the other vehicle was already on his radar.
Adjust speed to situation affording more reaction time, cushion and stopping distance. IMO he will ride again because he knows this was completely avoidable. He just wants it to be 100 percent about the idiot driver to save face.

~b
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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6887 Posts
[Mentor]


Pleasanton, CA
USA

KTM

990 Adv, XR650L

Posted - 06/13/2009 :  9:26 AM
quote:
Originally posted by rioguy

I found this description of a crash on another forum. In my opinion, the rider positioned himself poorly. Thoughts?

It is also my opinion that the rider positioned himself poorly.

The number one best tip that I received when I took the ERC the first time was to not ride next to other vehicles when you have that option. So ever since then I make sure that I'm in the gaps relative to cars in other lanes and that I'm far enough away that if they make a sudden lane change it's only a minor annoyance and not a reason to do some panic braking. If that rider had been positioned in the gap there would have been no incident.
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gymnast
Moderator
4263 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, Idaho
USA

Harley-Davidson

Sportster Sport

Posted - 06/13/2009 :  9:59 AM
Rio, looking at the downed riders self report it becomes apparent that he "doesn't have a clue" on many levels. His Roadcraft skills are lacking in all dimensions and the attitude of the rider that comes through in his description of the incident from A to Z indicates to me that he has learned nothing from his experience and will likely crash again. "Passive" information input and processing allowed him to place himself in the position to crash, lack of braking skills is obvious, and generally, his description of the details is "suspicious" ("laid there for 15 or twenty minutes", "EMT assured there was nothing they could do differently in the ER", etc)

His description of and recommendation of the use of helmet and protective gear is a positive, yet his self reported injury and lack of mention of a jacket "stick out".

This is a good example of a rider that needs mentoring, Roadcraft skills, and an attitude adjustment or his next crash with possibly far more serious consequences likely inevitable. He needs to "shape up or sell his bike, however the thought of riding in proximity to this guy if he were driving a car is a rather unpleasant thought in and of itself.

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Nigel A
Male Junior Member
68 Posts


TAUNTON, Somerset
United Kingdom

(None)

Formerly BMW 80RT

Posted - 06/13/2009 :  1:53 PM
Scott wrote:
'The number one best tip that I received when I took the ERC the first time was to not ride next to other vehicles when you have that option. So ever since then I make sure that I'm in the gaps relative to cars in other lanes and that I'm far enough away that if they make a sudden lane change it's only a minor annoyance and not a reason to do some panic braking. If that rider had been positioned in the gap there would have been no incident.'

I feel Scott has made a very salient point here. It's what I call the Basic Safety Position and it came from the High Performance Course that, in parallel traffic conditions, you never have the nose of your vehicle overlapping the tail of a vehicle in an adjacent lane. That applies to one-way streets and (as we call them) dual-carriageways and also motorways. If you take that position then, as Scott says, if the other driver/rider sudddenly changes lane there is no contact, just an adjustment of following distance. The alternative position (though purely a second and less favoured option) is to be slap alongside the vehicle in a position where the driver knows you are there. In the case of a m/c then slightly ahead to compensate for some restricted view from a full-face helmet. The downside of this, of course, is that you are vulnerable to a possible domino effect if something happens on the other side of the adjacent vehicle.

For those who have had the item on overtaking which goes through the Rule of the Triangle they will also recognise this in relation to the Point of Committment.

If in the States you have roundabouts where you exit in two lanes on a curve before the road straightens up then, if you are in the offside lane preparatory to overtaking a vehicle in the n/s lane (obviously!) and given that most drivers go wide on the exit of a bend (understeer, you maintain the Basic Safety Position until they are on the straight and only then go through with the overtake, otherwise there is possible contact as you proceed with the overtake and they go wide on their exit.
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rioguy
Ex-Member

Posted - 06/13/2009 :  4:46 PM
The situation with the guy who went down fits some of the concepts from Roadcraft so well, it could almost be made up. I didn't post his experience level before because I didn't catch it in the title of the thread. He'd ridden 11,000 miles.

Anyway, here was my response. See if you can guess the tone of his response. I didn't post it earlier as I wanted to see what others thought. Perhaps there was an answer I hadn't thought of.

quote:
There is something that concerns me here. The use of the words "Stupid" and "Moron" to describe the behavior of the SUV driver. You seem to have completely externalized the fault.

People in other vehicles will make mistakes. Our job is to position ourselves so reasonable mistakes will not result in an unfavorable interaction between vehicles. From your description as I understood it, you were hanging out in the driver's blind spot. Not just any driver, but one driving a vehicle where visibility is limited.

People change lanes. Sometimes suddenly. Sometimes without looking. That's the nature of the environment we ride in.

The second thing that concerns me is you lost control of your bike in a relatively simple situation. If you find that blind spot to be an absolute necessity due to traffic conditions (unlikely) then guard your brakes and take away the reaction time needed to reach the brakes. Simply slowing down would have solved the problem. Moving right just delays the possible impact.

If you persist in thinking you had no way to resolve this before the situation became one where you needed to employ superior skills, you will likely repeat a similar crash. Perhaps with a less favorable outcome.

One of my cardinal rules when riding is to never put myself in a position where other people making normal, even if dumb, mistakes can hurt me.

It doesn't matter if others are stupid or moronic. What matters is if you have the skills to avoid stupid and moronic behavior. If not, perhaps you should consider not riding as these types of behaviors will occur relatively frequently.

I've ridden about 55,000 miles in the last 2 years. I've only seen 2 cases where a driver made a mistake that caused me to make more than a minor adjustment. One of these was a quite serious, unpredictable, dumb mistake. But it was just that. A mistake. I've done that, too. I'm thankful that other drivers were smarter than me at the time.

The other problem about your attitude could have killed you had you avoided that crash. It's quite common for newer riders to feel anger when another driver does something inappropriate. That's the time to stop, gain control of yourself and then proceed. The time to think about something that happened is after the ride. The way to think about it is to figure out what you could have done differently.
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Cash Anthony
Female Administrator
1466 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, Texas
USA

Honda

Magna 750

Posted - 06/13/2009 :  5:55 PM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
Nigel wrote
quote:
If in the States you have roundabouts where you exit in two lanes on a curve before the road straightens up then, if you are in the offside lane preparatory to overtaking a vehicle in the n/s lane (obviously!) and given that most drivers go wide on the exit of a bend (understeer, you maintain the Basic Safety Position until they are on the straight and only then go through with the overtake, otherwise there is possible contact as you proceed with the overtake and they go wide on their exit.
In point of fact, Nigel, we simply don't have roundabouts in the U.S. They are very, very rare, that is. I'll bet in the whole state of Texas there are fewer than half a dozen.

Otherwise, I believe I understand your suggestion, and it's a good one.


Cash
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rioguy
Ex-Member

Posted - 06/13/2009 :  6:39 PM
The author of Roadcraft seems to follow a pattern of writing which I'm familiar with which has very specific guidelines for understanding it. These aren't published in Roadcraft, but knowing all of them would help in understanding it.

One of the guidelines is "When a general rule requires an explicit specification (for the sake of clarity,) The general rule is not limited to the specified particular."

Nigel gave a general rule of a Basic Safety Position. He stated it that you never have your front wheel overlap another vehicle.

We have 3 illustrations of that general rule here.

1. The guy who crashed (Although it doesn't appear he was actually overlapping.)

2. Roundabouts.

3. Scott's law - never have another person next to you.

It's up to us to understand the general rule and use that as a rule to make decisions in other situations. Although roundabouts are not common here, if one examines them carefully, they will see that quarter roundabouts in both directions are very common. They are double turn lanes.

I have no preference for either inside or outside, but I do follow the general rule of never being abeam another car in the other turn lane.

Really, almost all general rules are born from a higher general rule. In this case, the higher general rule might be to maintain a cushion of space around you at all times.

Once one grocks the highest level possible, they can easily derive the lower levels and apply them. At this point, the solutions all seem easy.

Here is an example:

You are approaching a stop light with 3 lanes of traffic ahead of you. The center lane has 2 cars. Each of the side lanes has 5 cars. Which lane choice would violate the general rule of maintaining space around you and why?



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bachman1961
Male Advanced Member
2263 Posts
[Mentor]


colorado springs, co
USA

Honda

CB750 NightHawk

Posted - 06/13/2009 :  6:52 PM
quote:
Originally posted by rioguy



Anyway, here was my response. See if you can guess the tone of his response.



You make some good points and call it as it is. My guess is he either went slightly ballistic informing you of all his experience and attributes or he just tried to rationalize a few of your points in making excuses to provide more cover for his ego.
I would love to be surprised and hear how he "saw the light" and now takes the responsibility heretofore.

When I read his account, I could not help but think that if he were telling it verbally, I'd have had to say: "Do you hear what you are saying?" He revealed everything he did that contributed to the other drivers error and resulted in his crash.
Reading a threat of that sort, the only thing that would keep a bike holding position would be to try and bully the other vehicle from coming over. I wonder if that is what happened and it came back to bite him? I also wonder what his answer would be .... 'why didn't you slow down, and allow more room?'
What sense is it to notice a potential threat and do nothing about it?

~brian
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twc
Male Advanced Member
836 Posts
[Mentor]


Fort Collins, CO
USA

Harley-Davidson

Electra Glide Ultra

Posted - 06/13/2009 :  6:58 PM
quote:
Originally posted by Nigel A

If in the States you have roundabouts where you exit in two lanes on a curve before the road straightens up then, if you are in the offside lane preparatory to overtaking a vehicle in the n/s lane (obviously!) and given that most drivers go wide on the exit of a bend (understeer, you maintain the Basic Safety Position until they are on the straight and only then go through with the overtake, otherwise there is possible contact as you proceed with the overtake and they go wide on their exit.
We're increasingly seeing new roundabouts in Colorado as the State tries to improved traffic flow and reduce oil consumption. That, plus a bit of experience driving in Wokingham and Bristol areas (I used to manage R&D teams in those locales) has provided some experience with roundabouts.

There is yet another reason for maintaining separation in roundabouts with dual through lanes in both directions for two intersecting roads: the path a driver may take is non-deterministic. That is, a driver may make a right turn (or a left turn in the U.K.) from the inside lane to continue a straight-through path.

Of course, where roundabouts are a novelty, you maintain separation because you never know what another driver will do. Case in point: I've seen skid marks across the central reserve in a roundabout that I traverse to and from work each day. I guess some habits die hard.
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gymnast
Moderator
4263 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, Idaho
USA

Harley-Davidson

Sportster Sport

Posted - 06/13/2009 :  8:04 PM
One of the last holdouts for roundabouts (sometimes they were more like "square-abouts" was the the old county court houses so be found throughout rural America right up until the late 1960s when most were done away with. They are putting in some new roundabouts here in the greater Boise area and there have been no problems so far.

Other than driving on the wrong side of the road, my experience when driving in the UK was the Brits are usually really good drivers when it comes to using their roundabouts. I found that if I would go around 3 or four times, my wife usually had the map figured out by then and she would tell me where to go and the name of town to exit at and off we would go.

I understand that there is a multi lane roundabout in Rome that is a real challenge even for the Italians who practice Roada Crafta. It is rumored that the Italian drivers are fearless, consider themselves to be the Worlds fastest and bestest and use an audio-impact guidance system when driving that somehow combines the sound of the horn with that of crunching metal to eventually arrive at an intended destination most of the time.
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rioguy
Ex-Member

Posted - 06/13/2009 :  8:07 PM
I spoke to my daughter who is a new driver and she came up with a great concept. She said that if she were was driving the SUV, she'd be annoyed because the rider was taking away one of her options.

One thing we can be certain of is that a driver in the center lane will eventually change lanes. Perhaps he was trying to get to McDonald's down the road. Maybe he was prevented from speeding up because of traffic ahead of him. Maybe he was waiting patiently for the bike to pass on the right and it didn't. Finally, he might be tempted to say "screw it" and pull in a little too close ahead of the bike.

On page 6 of Roadcraft, it states that riders who are more considerate of other drivers are involved in fewer crashes.

A higher level rule than just keeping a cushion of space around us would be to keep a cushion of options around us. Perhaps this will make us more aware of the options available should we need one. If an option is taken away, simply maneuver gently to try to regain it.

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rioguy
Ex-Member

Posted - 06/13/2009 :  9:17 PM
quote:
Cash said:
In point of fact, Nigel, we simply don't have roundabouts in the U.S. They are very, very rare, that is. I'll bet in the whole state of Texas there are fewer than half a dozen.



Cash, if I had to guess, I'd say six is your favorite number. I recall you asked to state what we wanted on our gravestone in six words.

I said "I was bad at math" giving 5 which must be my favorite answer.

Here is a picture of 5 traffic circles in Texas. If you've been there, you'd know some are Texas sized.
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Niebor
Ex-Member

Posted - 06/13/2009 :  9:28 PM
I get six.

I've ridden them in Vail, Nederland and Parker Colorado.
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Nigel A
Male Junior Member
68 Posts


TAUNTON, Somerset
United Kingdom

(None)

Formerly BMW 80RT

Posted - 06/15/2009 :  2:16 PM
I picked up a UK pilots magazine today (www.todayspilot.co.uk) and a quick scan through turned up this pearl of wisdom in the letters section. From 'Scotty' Elison in the USA. The letter ends with, 'I am reminded of the old proverb about the superiour aviator using his superb judgment to avoid using his superior skill'. That's the air side version of antisipating the problem well before you get to it - and that way avoid becoming the problem or even part of it which, as you will readily appreciate, is primarily what this thread and Roadcraft is really all about.

I am looking forward to reading any comments from those who have had the items I sent them. I would have thought the one on overtaking would have generated quite a bit of discussion.

Best Regards

Nigel
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aidanspa
Male Advanced Member
1739 Posts
[Mentor]


Omaha, NE
USA

Harley-Davidson

Road King

Posted - 06/15/2009 :  3:39 PM
NigelA, I found the article on Overtaking to be very enlightening. I recognized much of the described behavior of average drivers (constantly poking nose out because following too closely to TV to gather relevant information, etc) to likely be as common here as it is there and wherever there are drivers.

Taking a "hold-back" (closer than following distance) position before moving to Point of Commitment makes a great deal of sense. The Rule of the Triangle is something I will practice in both my driving and riding.

Great stuff!
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Nigel A
Male Junior Member
68 Posts


TAUNTON, Somerset
United Kingdom

(None)

Formerly BMW 80RT

Posted - 06/15/2009 :  4:28 PM
quote:
Originally posted by aidanspa

NigelA, I found the article on Overtaking to be very enlightening. I recognized much of the described behavior of average drivers (constantly poking nose out because following too closely to TV to gather relevant information, etc) to likely be as common here as it is there and wherever there are drivers.

Taking a "hold-back" (closer than following distance) position before moving to Point of Commitment makes a great deal of sense. The Rule of the Triangle is something I will practice in both my driving and riding.

Great stuff!


Thanks, aidanspa, for your comments. I think this is probably the first time this overtaking technique has been sent 'over the pond', apart from any police departments which, in the past, will have visited either Hendon or other UK police driving schools, but mostly Hendon.

I shall be interested to read how you get on with the flexible option of moving from the hold-back to the Point of Committment, and back again if necessary. The downside of that, of course, is the possibility that someone will close the gap and block you out because the moment you go 'over the line' they think you are actually committing to an overtake. In the case of the sort of long view on straight sections of road (which I imagine are common in the States) then the majority of information can often be obtained from well back, even in a following position. The art is knowing when to close up. Basicially you never, of course, overtake on a closing gap. However, given you have masses of view in this instance then the start of closing the distance to the TV occurs when the opposing traffic is the same distance from the TV as you are from it, if that makes sense. You should then find that you are 'moving out' just nicely on an opening gap as the opposing traffic has just passed the TV. But then also remember (and this is a difficult balance to get) that another basic principle is that you never make a 100% commitment from left of the line, with the exception of (in the States) coming off a left-hand bend where you generally have open and unobstructed view well past the TV.

The article also mentions the value of the 'inside view' when planning the possibility of (in your case, again) coming off a right-hand bend. Getting an o/t right (that is, correct) in these circumstances really does bright overtaking into an art form, but it can often mean that your observation and planning is well above that of the one in front which is too close to the TV to see anything other than the back of that vehicle. A good part of that art comes when transferring the view safely to the off-side for a clear unobstructed (no apology for repetition) view before making the committment to go. For anyone aquiring the Roadcraft video there are several instances where you can hear the instructor say to the pupil driver, 'Out, check and go'.
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