It is a well know rule of riding, or driving, as those who make the mistake to look at the obstacle or wherever they do not want to go just end up there. The process is interesting to watch, to the untrained eye it could look like the rider or the driver suddenly decided to go off the road or into the obstacle. This is plainly evident in all the motorcycle videos now available, where it is easier to see where the rider is looking. But the same principle applies when driving especially if/when one starts drifting.
It took me a long time to fully assimilate this most important lesson, in spite of it being taught to me the hard way, repeatedly. It started when I rode mopeds on iced roads, if the front wheel started to skid I would look at the ground and, instantly the ground would rush to my face before I could do anything. It did hurt, if anyone is wondering. Yet in spite of the pain or perhaps because of it, the obvious still escaped me for a couple of snow seasons. I had to wait until I upgraded and rode trial motorcycles, skidding and drifting every which way in mud, to get a clue. The fact that some friends would keep screaming “look where you want to go!” possibly helped getting it too. Being very young and excited riding funny machines in the mud did not help focus on the underlying principles at work.
Having made this principle a permanent fixture of my mind settings probably saved my life a couple times riding so many miles through so many different latitudes and longitudes. Look where you want to go works just as well in Africa as it does in EU or the US, or even in NZ.
It also applies very much in military tactics. The charge of the Light Brigade “into the valley of death”, in 1854 in Crimea is a clear example of what happens when this principle is not applied. Just as the many doomed infantry charges made in WWI against the German machine guns. Compare this with the battle of Austerlitz where Napoleon defeated in one battle all the major armies of EU to see what happens when the principle is applied.
It is paramount to look where you want to go in security. In a confrontation if one looks at the strength of its opponent, it will not be long before he gets introduced to that strength in a hurtful manner, if on the other hand one looks at the weaknesses one may have a fighting chance. Similarly if one faces a group, looking at the wall of muscle could be disheartening, just like a climber who would be looking at the void below him. But, looking at the gaps between the individuals, or finding a soft target on the strongest one, may provide a chance to improve the odds.
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