Feb 15, 2006

Pointing the wheels out

Imagine you're busy fashioning one of those super-quick, almost unobtrusive commutes that let your slip through the urban fabric unnoticed. One of those rides where you get to work all sweaty, wanting to yell out to everyone and explain the technical highpoints of the ride in graphic detail.

Whereupon they all look at you and think, 'stupid, immature, excitable jerk.'

Then, a car turns sharp left in front of you. The dream shatters and you wake up in a white bed, stare at a boring ceiling.

Moments later, all the colleagues file in, commiserate and think, 'stupid, immature, excitable jerk.'

I just thought of something (no doubt the seed was sowed by someone on the net...) as a precaution against oblivious cagers cutting you off. Three words: Watch The (Front) Wheels.

Any four wheeler intending to change direction, be it a sharp motorcyclist-decapitating ninety degree swipe, a lane change or a jink around a candy bar wrapper in the middle of the lane, must begin with a steering correction. And thanks to the non-turning nature of the surrounding paint work, it should be easy to spot. Moving object against a stable background, I think it's called.

I've tried it. Combined with peripheral vision registering turning hands on the steering wheel in cars, you can react way, way quicker to a car that's about to do you in. All you have to do is leave a sliver of peripheral vision down below, where you can spot the front wheels of cars you're about to pass. Even actively malevolent drivers will give themselves away. Obviously, this presupposes the fact that you're going slow enough to do something in the interest of self-preservation.

Further, I tried this while waiting at intersections. I found myself shying away from stopping next to or near the front ends of cars whose wheels were pointing at me. The cagers are too lazy to steer it straight and when they release the clutch, the car's going to pounce on me.

Okay, all done. You can return to imagining the perfect commute again, then.

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