Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Autopilot.. baaaad

Discussion in 'Your Near Misses - A Place to Vent' at netrider.net.au started by snuff3r, Apr 20, 2011.

  1. Every weekend I ride from the city to far west, via Paramatta Road and the M4. I've been doing this on two wheels for about 18 months, since i started riding. A few months ago I started noticing that i'm completely in autopilot mode and have had quite a number of incidents, nothing major, where I've thought "sheesh, what are you doing? Wake up, stupid" to myself.

    On my last ride out there I was again on autopilot. I was close to the M4 turn off, near the Shell servo. I nodded to a fellow rider coming the other way, turned back to what was in front and turned my brain off, as has become the habit of late. I was in the far left lane, no cars in the lane next to me and I was coming up to a queue of cars backed up in the right lane. As i'm approaching the backup, the car at the rear of the pack came out to go into the middle lane right in line with me so that he'll be at speed as i come up alongside him. Except, he's not going into the middle lane, he's decided to cross to the far left lane where I currently am doing 60kph. I grabbed brake and locked up the rear. He got to half into my lane, about an inch from my footpeg. If he didn't have his passenger window open and hadn't heard my screeching tyre, he wouldn't have ripped it back into the middle lane and would easily have collected me.

    What did I learn? Autopilot is farking bad, I need to change my route to try and shake it up and bit and stop it from happening, I wasn't set up, when i should have been, and threats can come from many lanes away. Also, I didn't feel shaken up at all, no adrenaline, nothing. Not even anger. This tells me that I was probably tired as well and shouldn't have been on the bike to begin with.

    Thank god it was a late model car and probably didn't have aircon, and that the dude had his passenger window open.

  2. Aircon or no, they'll always hear your boot in the passenger door...
    This is a common thread today!
  3. Wow. Two threads about autopilot today (Check out LowerCase's thread).

    Need to have my brain switched on t'day!

  4. Phew...glad to hear all's good snuff3r !
    Indeed, 2 'Autopilot' threads today...
    Though (I won't lie)..this got my attention - for this and other reasons (y)

    Being in 'autopilot' mode can be rather dangerous, as you/lowercase have both commented and is something we all need to be very mindful of. I find myself drifting off sometimes, only to snap myself back onto the right 'path' by introducing verbal comments to myself about how I'm going to take the next corner, braking points, lean, throttle control..look out for vehicles around blind corners...etc etc !

    It's a form of discipline we all must push ourselves to maintain, because riding can indeed be 'interesting' at times...1 sec loss of concentration can have 'more interesting' repercussions.

    PS - In some fields, Autopilot is VERY good (y)
  5. I use the same thing, but as a Game!

    I call it: "So, What's Gonna Kill Me Today" (aka: Bring it, B*tches!!)
    It involves looking at everything (EVERYTHING) on the road and thinking up HORRIFIC ways in which they're out to get me, and what a crumple mess I might become in the next 8 seconds.

    Keeps me focused...and entertained! ;)
  6. I do the same route, try going Queens rd and Gipps st to stay off parramatta rd, it's a lot less autopiloty.
  7. At least you learnt an easy lesson - don't do 60km/h more than than the lane next to you :)

    Failing to significantly reduce speed when passing stationary traffic in a free lane is a good way to get cleaned up fast.
  8. Eek, just noticed that. At least i know it's not just me :-(

    I came back on a 6 hour flight from Broome last night. I'm guessing the pilots were asleep for most of it =D

    Morbid - I likey.
  9. I always slow down to a crawl if the lane next to me is stopped. This dude changed two lanes in one hit, which i wasn't expecting.

    Always expect the unexpected...
  10. There IS a problem with teadium(spelling).

    In fact, i personally put it up there as with severally other insidious things, that are the most dangerous things we have to deal with. Ie being very very cold while riding, because sooner later, that's all you'll be thinking about - How cold it is!

    Or, as the OP realized, the teadium of a long ride when you may be tired or just bored.

    Stay alert! Anyway you can!
  11. Wow! I can't believe how complacent, and resorting to 'autopilot' some of you can be. I admit I ocasionally 'relax' when I am closer to home, but never hit the autopilot while riding...maybe it's the way I ride. Very agressive.

    Seriously....I know I have said this a few times, but get a job as a motorcycle courier, even if it's just for six months, and I bet you won't 'hit' that autopilot ever again... It's all about survival when you're on the road 10 hours a day, 5 days a week, and if you understand this, you can have so much fun riding!
  12. Lemme see if I got this straight:
    So, your cure for the momentary 'autopilot' is to ride like an overzealous organ donor...??!

    Not sure that's the best advice...
  13. Let me put it another way... I ride offensive, rather than defensive. I don't wait around for idiots to place me in a bad situation. I'm gone before they ever realise I'm there, and this is how I stay out of the 'autopilot' mode, as I'm always thinking about my next move. But I stress, this style of riding is not for everyone. I have found over the years, it works well for me. Keeps me on my toes. :wink:

    By the way, I've been riding like an "overzealous organ donor" for over 20 years, 10 of those years as a motorcycle courier, and for me it has actually 'saved' my life, because I don't often 'relax' on the road.

    However you do it, you have to stay 'on the ball', and keep thinking about your next move/s.
  14. It depends on rhe nature of the riding.

    A regular commute can put you into a bit of a stupor. Unlike courier riding where you havw a multitude of destinations throughout the day, the commuuter has the same destination down the same roads, so it's easier to slip into a state of complacency.

    If you do a long day's ride.... You're heading home, stuffed.... Tired and maybe cold coz it's late arvo, a nd it's easy to get the thousand yard stare as you get into the traffic, low speeds etc.

    Like I said, it's insidious and you don't realize your slipping into it.
    I've actually fallen asleep on a bike while cruising along at a 100k's twice now...so i do alot to keep myself on the ball at such times.

    As a courier, yes... It'd be hard to lose focus, when you re riding proactively.
  15. Personally I am quite interested in this effect. I umpire a couple of sports and this mental downtime is something we often talk about. In short, you simply can't have 100% focus all the time, your mind will wander at some point. The brain needs a break or you will make more mistakes.

    I think the key is to have control over when and where you let it happen. i.e. Be able to flick out and back in. i.e. FIlter to front of lights, car behind, safe, swich off for 30s then as the light is about to go green switch back on. Maybe on an empty freeway can focus a little less on certain things?

    I don't know the answer but I think the continual problem of mental management is an important one.

    WHen do others think it is safe to give your brain a rest?
  16. That's good question, and to combat it, i take several breaks in a day. Just get off walk around etc. In the meantime i will have a number of mini-breaks while still riding, and to do that, all i have to do is "knock it off"...slow right down for maybe 5-10mins, so i can have plenty of time to react. I sit up and just cruise.

    The hardest part is recognizing that i need to, so to avoid mistakes, i'll do that whether i think i need it or not.

    But slowing right down, if you don't intend to stop, works wonders, and from there i can also see more clearly if i should stop.
  17. I took a solo ride up the mountains yesterday, which i didn't plan on taking so i wasn't prepared (thermals, etc). I spent most of the ride home constantly aware of how cold i was. Brrrr...
  18. I haven't had any problems with this yet on the bike as my commute is only about 20-30 minutes each way, max. In the car though its a different story. My previous girlfriend near Campbelltown so I'd often be driving between hers and mine at like 11 or 12 at night. Sometimes it felt like I'd dropped her off, got back on to the M5 and then blinked to magically be on Bexley Road. Absolutely no specific memories of the trip at all. Never came close to having any incidents as there was hardly any traffic at those times. I'm just amazed that I never once got pulled over, since when I wasn't teleporting all the way would snap back to it and realised I was sitting on 120+ in the 110 zones.
  19. #19 lui, May 3, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2015
    M4 sucks, Parramatta Road sucks, the combination of both?

    Got a similar encounter last night, long queue of cars on the right lane, no cars on the left lane because it becomes bus lane in 20 metres or so, as I was approaching on the left lane, the moron driver waiting on the right suddenly cut in front of me. Luckily I was able to stop in time.

    I pulled up to the driver to protest but he didn't even look at me. It was a moment very tempted to test the knuckle protector on his mirror. I know it's not worth it. So took off try not to think about it.