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Safety Information

Dealing with Panic (Mar 2009 newsletter)

by Ted and Joyce Strutz

I can almost smell it! I've noticed tinges of it in the air! What you ask? Why, riding season of course. Time to start working the kinks out and thinking about getting the cobwebs off the bike. That could also be said of our minds. Time to think about getting our minds in gear for the riding season.

Did you know that panic is one of the big causes of motorcycle crashes? If you don't stay focused and keep a clear mind, chances are you will focus on the wrong thing and that is when the accident starts to happen. Let's say you go into a corner a little too hot. Then you find out it is a tighter corner than you thought it was. Right at that point when you realize those things it is really easy for panic to take hold. The worst thing you can do is to focus on the imposing danger.

What we need to do, at the point of panic taking over, is to recognize what is still working in our favor. By training ourselves to do that it can significantly improve our chances of survival. We must discipline ourselves to push aside the threats that are screaming at us and concentrate on the important stuff. Still got grip? Excellent! Now focus on the exit to the curve and ride to it.

If you get yourself stuck in an escalating panic situation, what we tell ourselves will most likely become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If all we can think is that we are going to crash, then we probably will. If we fixate on them impending threat, we will likely ride smack into what we really want to avoid. We need to replace fear and panic with positive thinking. Following are five tips to make survival easier.

· Avoidance is the best way to reduce the stress of a panic situation. Entering a blind curve remember the saying “Slow in and out with a Grin".
· Concentrate on what is working in your favor. Have confidence and stubbornly refuse to accept crashing as an option.
· REMEMBER, you go where you look. Don't live by the saying " We came, We saw, We crashed into it" Look away from the threat and look toward the solution.
· Do not hold your breath. That increase panic and tightens your muscles. Let out a deep sigh and let yourself relax into the bike. This will help put you back in control and build confidence.
· If you have traction, use it! Our bikes have enough reserve there to get us through most situations.

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