12 September 2008

Subconscious mind or dual processors?

The subconscious mind is an amazing thing.

This evening I headed out on a quick errand just a few minutes before sunset. I headed north on the local street then needing a left turn onto the arterial street. Looking left there is a traffic pattern a few seconds out, led by a minivan in the right hand lane. Checking right another traffic will arrive a few seconds behind the east bound pattern.

Ok, judging the speed-time-distance equation, if the minivan turns south I'll have about 1 second, may be 2 to leap in front of the westbound pattern. The minivan slows and signals a right turn. Check right, yea still have time. Look left *God I hope this works* (thinking leap of faith - I can't see S&^! left)

And before I consciously perceive the threat, my feet are on the brakes and clutch. Peering through the glare a Ford F250/350 truck has skidded to a stop in the second lane. I'm stopped in the first lane while the truck is in the second lane. No blood no foul. Wish I'd gotten a han off the wheel to wave "Oops, my bad". The amazing thing here are the automatic reactions. My feet (as were the truck driver's) were on the brakes before the threat was visibly perceived. To quote Maverick "If you think, you're dead!" Been there, done that. Today! OTOH, whenever I find myself driving with the sun at my back, I turn my headlights on to improve visibility.

Once the truck was convinced I'd seen him and held fast, he proceeded. I still had time to beat the westbound pattern.

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