You’re cruising home from a meeting. The weather isn’t very cooperative – it’s starting to rain. You’re in no hurry, but your habit is to ride a little faster than the average speed of traffic. You know that crashes can occur quickly on the superslab, so you scan the situation far ahead and watch for any signs of a problem. You’re not turning off, so you stay out of the right lane. You were too close to a loaded sand truck that was flinging dirty water and mud, so you decided to change lanes to the right to get farther away.
You glance over your shoulder to ensure there’s no one in your blind spot, then start to move over and flick on your turn signal. But suddenly the driver of a large pickup truck on your right swerves into the same lane – right on top of you. The situation instantly gets worse when a car ahead slows down and the pickup driver brakes hard to avoid a rear-ender. You transition from throttle to brakes as smoothly and quickly as possible, and barely manage to avoid ramming the pickup truck by lane splitting over the white dots.
You’re angered that the pickup truck driver didn’t look or signal before changing lanes. His move was so sudden and so aggressive that you have to believe that he was simply bulling his way over without regard for a motorcyclist.
It’s always smart to look far ahead in traffic to spot problems early. If you had been aware of the situation all around you, you might have predicted that the pickup truck driver would change lanes, and then delayed your lane change.
Signaling your intentions may not encourage aggressive drivers to avoid moving into your path, but it’s the law, and it might help you in some situations. If you think back to your lane change technique, you may realize that you didn’t signal until you actually started to move over. It would be smarter to signal at least three seconds prior to any move. So, if you’re planning a lane change, signal first, then look, then move if the situation is amenable.