Rant and Rave

The speed wars are definitely heating up out there (i.e., "Speedy" Lee and "Idonwannadie" Mark). Both these guys are a little extreme, and both got a few points right. Most of the problems arise from speed differential, inattention (from fast OR slow drivers!), and just plain lack of skill/training. Lee's right in the fact that even a basic Honda can outperform, safely, pure racing cars from a few years back.

Unfortunately, Mark's right in that a frighteningly large number of drivers are using these vehicles' higher limits WITHOUT understanding the physics of going faster, or spending any time increasing THEIR limits or abilities.

Lee states that it is a right to drive fast. Along with any right comes responsibility. Lee's attitude shows a lack of responsibility toward high-speed driving. What training have you had? Or are you relying on "natural ability"? (By the way, I know many racers that were fast right from the start, and racers that have honed their skills for years without rising above mediocrity.)

Mark, there are a lot of drivers out there who are safer driving fast than you are sitting in your driveway. If YOU find YOURself in an emergency situation AT THE SPEED LIMIT OR BELOW, you will find your self in as bad a predicament as those speeders you despise. You need proper training to drive safely, regardless of the speed you choose to travel at.

And Mark, don't buy into state-provided statistics. The state of Washington provided a brochure on the dangers of speed when they raised speed limits. In that brochure was printed stopping distances for the average car from 55 and 65 mph. It listed the distance needed to stop from 65 mph as 900 yds. WHAT?? The only way to stop from 65 in 900 yds. is to jump out and let the car roll to a stop on it's own!! The average sedan now does it in less than 160 ft., and many sports cars stop in less than 120 ft. from 65 mph. Yet all other scare propoganda in the brochure is based on this outdated data. On the back, credit for the information is given as an NHTSA study from 1956. 1956!!!!

As it turns out, all other speed-related data the government gives out is easily checked and is, not surprisingly, just as suspect. And yet Lee's despised "speed nazis" go on believing. In accident reporting, "speed-related" is used as a catchall, and when it is brought up to scare citizens, it shows up in 34 percent of all fatal crashes.

BUT, if you remove "speed-related," that ALSO includes alcohol/drugs, bad weather (even low speeds can be entered here), and the best one--"speed too low" (a real beauty, that--using slow drivers to make fast drivers look bad!), the amount left ends up being less than 5 percent!

Now, the problem with using these stats is that no matter how you look at them, they only prove a negative number. There are no stats on "successful speed." Even if the 34 percent figure is taken at face value, that percentage of fatals could still be only 1 percent of fast drivers. There's no way of measuring. It would be sad to paint a picture of fast drivers using only 1 percent of the total information, now wouldn't it?

In conclusion, Lee, grow up; Mark, wise up, and I'll keep driving my modified car fast, quietly.


Chris V.

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