The worst tangles that I have ever got into in a boat race come down to one thing and that is not keeping a weather eye out, If you see trouble coming then you have time to come up with a counter strategy which, while it may not eliminate the threat, will minimize the impact on you.
It could be a boat that is on starboard and you are on port, or it could be a traffic jam developing at a turning mark or being headed up at the starting line. If you see it coming then you can figure out an exit strategy.
If you don’t see it coming, then there is usually lots of yelling followed by a sub optimal solution. Hopefully there isn’t any crashing sounds, but when you are blindsided that is definitely one of the possible outcomes.
Life works the same way – keep your head up and don’t get so engrossed in the task at hand that you can’t see that your path is taking you over a cliff.