Many times we have stressed the importance of looking ahead into a corner so that you can formulate a riding plan well in advance. Another benefit of looking where you want to go is that it can help save you when things get a little out of control; like when you're caught unaware in a corner going a little too fast. Obviously, these steps won't do you much good if you totally screw up and blast into a 30-mph corner at well over 100 mph, but if you find yourself running into a turn that tightens up unexpectedly, these points can help keep you rubber-side-down during a situation that probably qualifies as the number one trap for novice riders.
...your body tensing up, with an immediate urge to get on the brakes, resulting in a locked-up rear wheel. You instinctively start picking the bike upright since you're applying the brakes, and you're busy staring at the outside of the turn. You end up going where you look, which causes you to skid off into the dirt. The root cause of this mishap? You should have been focusing on the turn ahead, not on the outside of the turn.
It's hard to trust in your bike's capabilities in situations like this, but riding skill comes from the confidence of knowing your bike's proficieny as well as your own. Focusing your attention on the correct area allows you to better handle panic situations like this. If you don't have confidence in attaining max lean with your bike, too much of your attention will be spent on controlling the bike, rather than steering it in the direction you want to go.
Decreasing-radius corners (turns that tighten up toward the exit) can be very deceiving. Even if you're looking far enough ahead, the tighter section of the corner can catch you off guard. It begins innocently enough: You're already well into a turn when you notice it starting to tighten up. As you suddenly realize you might be running out of road, confusion can result as your self-preservation instincts start to cause a bit of panic. It's at this point where the big problems start; you're so worried about running off the corner that you "target fixate" on the outside, which results in...
When you realize the turn is tightening up, as difficult as it sounds, ignore the outside of the turn; continue to look ahead, roll off the throttle gently, and simply feed in more lean angle. Keep off the rear brake and stay focused on your intended path. Most of today's machines can carry more lean angle than you think, and if you keep your focus on where you want to go, as long as your tires and suspension are in good condition, the bike will get you there.
It's important to be smooth on the controls when you're getting toward maximum lean, since the tire's footprint is pretty small at that point. Dragging fixed hard parts is obviously not good; look at your bike from the rear to see which parts will touch down first when you get to max lean. If you lack the confidence to lean your bike over, practice-preferably at a track day or riding school.