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Old 10-17-2007, 10:59 PM   #1
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Unhappy To all the younger drivers here, and some of the older ones too.

I will start off by stating, that on October 17, 2007, a 17 year old girl whom was the daughter of my co-worker, passed away. The cause of her death was a fatal car crash. The name and location of this young lady’s death will be kept silent here, out of respect for the family. Details of the crash as I know them at this time: sometime before 9am, a motorcyclist was traveling on a back road; he was passed by young woman in a small GM vehicle. This was on a two lane back road, residential area, no passing zone. A few minutes later, he came upon the car, in a ditch and stuffed into a tree. When he got to the car, the driver’s lower half was mangled beyond recognition, her upper body also severely damaged, large cuts to her face. She was conscious but unable to speak, gurgling up blood. The interior of her car was covered in blood. Other motorists stopped to help. The girl was taken to a hospital via helicopter after be extracted from the car. During surgery, she died, this was shortly before noon. Her death was not instant, and it was not painless. I am going this far into detail to drive home the point. The young lady in question was a straight A student, never got in trouble, and a young role model. She had only just recently gotten her driver’s license.

Events like the one above make me think allot about myself and the hobby I have immersed myself in since I was 18. That hobby is cars and driving. On days like today, I can’t help but in some way feel guilty, or like somehow I did something wrong.

If you are reading this, there is a good chance, you like myself, are a car enthusiast on some level. Many of the members here are younger than me, with very little driving experience. Others may not even have your driver’s license yet. I know you want to go fast; I know you want to race. For many of you, that means whether you admit it or not, you plan on at some point driving fast and/or racing on the street. It’s so very tempting. I know. I also know some of you may be thinking, didn’t this guy just post about getting a speeding ticket? Yes I did. And, yes I do speed. (See note at bottom)

When you get behind the wheel of your focus, or whatever you drive I beg you to remember a few things:
While the Ford Focus handles great considering what it is, an economical, inexpensive, low end car, it does not have good handling. It has OK handling characteristics that is about it. Also, no matter how good the suspension of any car is, it will only handle as well as the tire allow it. Many of you may have purchased your focus on a budget, or bought tires when you needed them, not when you could afford them. This means you most likely do not have the best handling tires on earth. Even if you did, can you honestly say to yourself that if you pushed them hard, you would know based on conditions, where the threshold of the tire’s grip is? Would you be able to stop yourself from sliding off the road? Be honest with yourself for a minute. Do you know even how to tell, is the sound? Input from the steering wheel? Is it a combination of the two? Or is it something else? It’s not a lesson you want to learn the hard way.
Drag Racing: There are some members here have modified there Focus’s in a manner that enhances the car’s mile times. They race often. Some even do it in the street. There is a reason why it is illegal to street race. It’s dangerous to you and everyone else who might happen to be on the road when you decide its time to play Vin Diesel in the streets. The best place to learn how to drag race a car is at the race track, slowing going from a slow pass, not trying to hard, then gradually making pass after pass, increasing your speed slowly until you get the hang of it, those lanes are narrow, and it only takes a small mistake to make a fun sport deadly. At the very least the race track is a controlled environment, where as the street is a totally different animal. In the street there are always countless variables you have to watch out for: rough roads, innocent cars entering your “track”, weather, lack of divided lanes mean your opponent could hit you, and vice versa. I know it seams like a bunch of good old fashioned fun, but it’s just not worth it. You could get hurt, maimed, kill yourself, someone else, damage property.

Movies: You’ve heard it before, but I’m going to say it again; the movies aren’t real. Movies like Fast and the Furious, Ronin, Gone in 60 seconds and other make it look so easy. If the big name celebrities can do it, why can’t you? You can’t because they can’t either. First off, car stunts in movies are performed by professional stunt drivers, not Paul Walker and Ludacris. Not only that, the stuff you see in movies is done in a controlled environment, and CG and other movie magic also help to make the unreal seam real. The fact of the matter is if you try to pull half the stuff you see in the movies, you are going to get yourself killed. I don’t care what you did the other day, or your friend did last week, sometimes you do get lucky, but most of the time you don’t, and it only takes one unlucky time to end it all.

Be careful out there guys, good luck, and happy motoring.

In memory of A.M.

Late Update: Based on recent debate, I'd like to mention that the officers investigating this crash determined that the young lady had in fact been texting while driving.

Side note:
I don’t mean to sound like a hypocrite, but if I do, I’m sorry. By simply adding the mileage increase of the vehicles I own, plus factoring in the amount of work related driving I do, I have nearly 200,000 miles of driving experience under my belt. I’m also 27 years old. Does this amount of experience make it ok for me to go fast and take risks? NO it doesn’t. No one is perfect, but the fact of the matter is that I am by default a better driver and more experienced than most people younger than me with fewer miles behind the wheel, barring any special driving education. This in no way excuses anything I have done behind the wheel, but I’m old enough to know the risks of my actions, you younger guys have your whole lives ahead of yourselves. When I was 17, and had my license on a short time, I ran a 1997 Dodge Avenger into a tree at 70mph, do to reckless, idiotic driving. I did not have my seatbelt on. Somehow, I walked away from that accident without a single injury. That was luck, nothing more. For all intents and purposes, I should be dead.

ShamrockSVT: Doing my part

Last edited by ShamrockSVT; 05-20-2010 at 02:09 AM.
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Old 10-17-2007, 11:30 PM   #2
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guess you learned that sometimes it's better to be lucky than good huh? on a more serious note though, nicely put, good message. i'll admit, i'm young, barely 20, and i drive faster than i should at times, but unlike some friends, i know where to stop. no, i'm not saying that i know the limits of my vehicle either, just that i know where to cross the line. that point where it goes from having a little fun on a curvy road doing a few miles over, to being reckless and endangering other people. too many people don't know where that line is. thinking they can do more with their vehicle than either a) the car can handle or more often than not b) more than they can handle as a driver.

so, props for wording all of that in a great way, maybe it'll help somebody out. sad story, sorry to hear. unfortunately it happens.
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Old 10-18-2007, 12:21 AM   #3
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damn good story, and write up, and explanation, ill agree 10000000000 percent on this topic, i love to take my car ot for spins and do some fun sprited driving, racing random cars, or showing off for friends or the ladies lol, but i do it with my brain, if i race someone ill only do it if i know the conditions are good, and we usually have people up and down the road to keep it safe, i dont race often, prolly only lined it up 4-5 was hella fun, but still stupid even for how safe we did it, chance of gettign caught, deer, blown tire, or whatever.

i will say this tho, i def. think anyone that mods their car, thusly being the focus, should get out to the track if it be a drag or a road course, me i lvoe teh autoX, it helps SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much, sure you dont do it daily, but when you do know what your car can do on what you got, you know where you can go, but in the streets you run the speed limit trying to do this stuff, with the posted speeds, and hit a corner without braking its just hard to know what the corner is like, and if something is around the corner. im not saying im better then anyone cuz i race my car, i just have a feel for my car, ive never once not had control of my grey car, my whie a few times sliding in the snow, open lot was all fun. but you do learn to slow down, me the tickets got me and i dont want em anymore, and i feel better knowing i didn the speed limit, or didnt do a dtupid move on the road to aggrevate a person in there car, or whatever, i just take my time, stay 10-15 feet back and take my time, im only 20 but ive prolly got a good 300k miles under my belt, and im glad i do, the st 10k where bad, speeding and such, its one of those things you need to experience for yourself and get caught and reason is it all worth the life of yourself or others, hell no it isnt

so i say everyone needs to jst take it easy, and remember the smallest simplest, dumbest thing could put you in a hospital or in the ground...just be careful, and ALWAYS buckle up, and sorry to hear shamrock, what a way to go, i pray for the family, its a hard thing to cope with
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Old 10-18-2007, 12:33 AM   #4
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Yeah.... well last week here in cali a mustang and legend were racing and well they hit a altima with a small family in it trapped all the kids and mom and they were burned alive.... just cuz some one wanted to race on a residential street.... gives you chills
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Old 10-18-2007, 01:35 AM   #5
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Good message to get out there, so good thread. Its horrible how inconsiderate people who street race are. Cars are dangerous as it is, and they are just making it a thousand times worse. I've always been a believer that if you want to race your car, take it to the track. The streets were never made for racing. There are so many variables to consider that could cause the situation to go horribly wrong. Be smart folks!
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Old 10-18-2007, 02:57 AM   #6
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Very good post, I hope this does get to some of the younger people here and old as well. Cars should only be raced at the track. It's sad that she passed away, but she's in good hands now.

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Old 10-18-2007, 08:05 AM   #7
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Ill be honest, I am 19 and I have never street raced and do not plan on it ever because I have been in 2 crashes with my friends where we raced other people. Wreckin at 80-90 mph, your lucky to be alive and so I thank God everyday for me still being alive.
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Old 10-18-2007, 08:37 AM   #8
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One more addition to the younger drivers: DRIVE like your racing. That means, stay aware of what's going on around you, where the other cars are, the potential threats around you. Know where your "escape route" is.

For instance, you're rolling down the left lane, make sure you're not in a place where the dozy driver in the middle/right lane can switch lanes into you causing an accident; just don't be there. Also make sure you can get into the middle/right lane if an emergency vehicle or an idiot comes up behind you at warp speed. Don't feel like you've got to race some jackass going too fast on the freeway; traffic tickets are a VOLUNTARY tax, don't participate.

Don't mess with crap when you're driving, put the cell on silent, not vibrate, silent or turn it off. You don't see auto-X'ers and other racers texting each other while they race.

Finally, if you're in traffic and it comes to an abrupt halt or a seriously reduced speed, click on your flashers to get the attention of the dozy driver behind you; flashing lights get more attention than steady brake lights.

Drive like you're racing, you're not trying to get to the "finish line" first, you just want to get there unscathed, un-freaked with no surprises.
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Old 10-18-2007, 08:50 AM   #9
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I don't mean to sound like an ass, but because some young driver passed a motorcycle, and mysteriously crashed a few minutes later, we should be mindful of our driving habits? I am a 20 year old driver, and while I may be young, I think my driving ability is far advanced to many people my age. Am I the perfect driver? No. But from day 1 when I got my permit, my dad took me out in all sorts of driving conditions, to parking lots to learn how to control a car during a slide. To see how a car moves and feels under normal vs adverse driving conditions. I compete in autocross, which greatly enhances your driving skill. It has taught me the limits of my cars, as to respect the limits.

I have done stupid shit it my car, but you learn. Now, any sort of "competitive" driving I do is only done at sanctioned events. Street racing is stupid, and I tried that scene for all of about 2 nights, and quickly realized how stupid it was.
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Old 10-18-2007, 09:05 AM   #10
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sad story and i do respect every driver out there cept for the immature get out of my way drivers.
i know im young and im mature!!! i do want to race sometimes but think its not worth it due to certain reasons. people pull up on me and get on my ass and try to make me race but i dont cuz i want my car to last a while. im 22 and like taking care of important things in my life and my car is one of em best one ive ever had. if i ever do decide to race the track it is..
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