Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Do you have the need for speed?

Are you competitive? I play sports and love to compete. I teach my kids to play fair and follow the rules. It’s about good sportsmanship, not always about winning. Is driving more like a competitive game for you, or is it a necessity? What would you call “winning” for a driver?

The reason I ask this question is because a lot of drivers feel it’s okay to surpass the speed limit in such a way that it appears there’s no speed limit at all. Why drive well over the speed limit? Is it a thrill for you, or a need? These types of drivers will do 60 km/h or more in a school zone and 100 km/h or more on secondary highways. Drivers who feel they can do this, without regard for public safety, haven’t thought this all the way through. Have they thought about “what if?” What if they lost control of their vehicle? They haven’t taken a professional course on how to handle the vehicle at that speed, so why are they?

What if another driver pulled out suddenly because they weren’t expecting someone to drive so fast? This would cause the speeding driver to suddenly brake or swerve out of the way. A sudden swerve will almost always cause panic, plus a loss of control.

The truth of the matter is that street racing belongs on a controlled track. There’s no place for it on public roads. Innocent people are taken from us because of someone’s need for thrilling activities. This includes passengers, not just drivers. There’s always a place for thrills. If you have the ‘need for speed’, why not join a carting club? If you truly understood speed and inertia, you would need to understand how and when to steer around corners. On a track, there are no pedestrians or drivers in your way who are driving much slower than you. You would be taught to do it properly.

Ken Wilden, who raced in a variety series in Canada and the US, including Formula Atlantic, Indy Lights and the Trans Am series to name a few, has always said to learn your craft from a professional. Racing is a fun sport, but it’s a sport. “If guys want to race, they should go to one of many racing schools available”, says Ken. Once you learn how to do it properly, you’ll have more respect for other road users. One of the participants on Canada’s Worst Driver, season 2, had the need for speed. He took his needs to the go-cart track. He now understands there’s a place for it.

The only race you have on public roads is the human race. Other road users aren’t expecting you to be driving so fast on public roads. Your excessive speed affects their choices as well. So, let’s keep our speed down and keep the racing on the track where it belongs!
~~Editor's Note~~
Thanks again to my good friend, Scott Marshall a.k.a. @safedriver and his blog http://safedriving.wordpress.com/ for providing this article.
Also, re-visit one of my older posts about speeding and the difference you can make by slowing down, click here.

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